This week on Younger Than Yesterday

This week's episode of Younger Than Yesterday finds another guest in the studio. I gotta say, I'm digging having guests on the radio show. It sure takes a lot of pressure off of me, especially on the weeks that I don't feel like coming up with an interesting theme. Truth be told, it seems people enjoy the weeks that I don't plan anything -- simply grab some CDs off the shelf an hour before the show -- as much as the weeks that I spend several hours selecting songs or fine-tuning a theme. But I guess I enjoy the latter weeks more, even if ya'll don't.

Anyway, my partner DF is out of town for a couple weeks, so I'm manning the boards by my lonesome. Except for this week, of course, which finds my friend Jonathan V. in the studio with me. (Maybe I'll call him Jonnie V. on the air. Every good DJ needs a nickname.) We've decided to do a freak-folk/Americana/acoustic blues/outlaw country & western set. Or something along those lines. I've been wanting to do a set of such material for a few months, and since Jonathan is such a big fan of the genre(s), this worked out perfectly. Expect to hear everything from Townes to Fahey to Blind Willie. And Michael Hurley, too.

You may not be familiar with Hurley, but that's probably only because you didn't know you were. Ms. Cat Power is a big fan, having covered two of his songs -- "Sweedeedee" on The Covers Record (his version is way better) and "Werewolf" on You Are Free (her version is actually pretty good by comparison). Hurley also has ties to The Holy Modal Rounders, who borrowed several of his songs on their earlier records. He's enjoying a minor comeback as of late, thanks in no small part to artists like Cat Power and Devendra Banhart, who is the curator of a small summer festival in Los Angeles and has asked the 64 year-old Hurley to play at it. (Anyone wanna pay for my plane fare?)

Hurley's guitar playing is simple, almost to the point of boredom, and his tunes are often melancholy and odd in nature. But his best songs possess an edgy electricity that's quite disarming, similar to Chan Marshall. Here's the aforementioned "Werewolf", taken from his first recordings in 1964 for Folkways (from the Blueberry Wine compilation). Enjoy.

Michael Hurley - "Werewolf"

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