Artist: Professor Louie and the Crowmatix
Album: Music From Hurley Mountain
Label: Woodstock Records WR56
Release Date: 01/15/2016
Professor Louie and the Cromatix are well known for studio work and productions for the Band and individual members of that immortal group. The Crowmatix have played many a session with Bob Dylan, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Van Morrison, etc. Yes, they are that good. Music From Hurley Mountain is their 12th album release, and here I must confess to more than a little bias. If I walk out to the end of my driveway in Cottekill/Stone Ridge, NY, and fly with the many crows that grace the place, in less than 3 miles I will be winging in front of Hurley Mountain. I was born here and lived here my entire 68 years. Stone Ridge, with its numerous colonial era stone houses, is square in the middle of the Town of Hurley – a little piece of paradise to those who live and work here. The famous village of Woodstock is but 10 miles further up the road. It is an area steeped in tradition and studded with first rate, immensely talented local artists and musicians. It has long been a hotbed for genuine “Americana” music. It’s in the water, the air, the rolling fertile farmland.
This brilliant set from the Professor and friends is a simple, heartfelt tribute to a day in the life at Hurley Mountain – recorded in a studio built smack dab in the middle of the farm that stretches along the mountain. Having lived here and absorbed it all, I can assure you that these guys are absolutely authentic. Yes, you will hear the strong influence of Levon Helm and the Band. But don’t forget that “Music from Big Pink” was inspired by and recorded in the little town of Saugerties, a scant 20 miles from here.
Everything on the album is first rate. I especially enjoyed the down-home, Celtic-tinged barn dance instrumental “Four Farmers.” “Light in Your Eyes” is a heart-stopping soul ballad that would have fit Otis Redding like a glove. The gorgeous, bittersweet traditional, “Angel Band,” closes out the album as the sun sets once again on Hurley Mountain. We live in age where the airwaves and music charts are larded with forgettable, spiritless, sugar-laden sludge that contributes nothing to our priceless musical heritage and inner being. Thank the Master of the Universe that there are pockets of Heaven like Hurley Mountain, graced with the talent of musicians like the Professor and his band, feeding our ears and souls with music of substance and timelessness.