Music From Hurley Mountain - Professor Louie & The Crowmatix
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Music From Hurley Mountain
Professor Louie & The Crowmatix
Their 12th CD is inspired by the beautiful farmlands next to their recording studio in the Catskill Mountains. It's a spirited collection of 13 songs - 11 originals and select tunes. This mix of originals, traditional tunes, heartfelt vocals and blistering guitar riffs from The Crowmatix brings fans inside the musical heritage that has shaped their sound and made them one of the Hudson Valley’s most beloved bands.
Great performances by Prof. Louie, Miss Marie, Gary Burke, Frank Campbell, John Platania, Josh Colow and special guest violinist Larry Packer.
Music From Hurley Mountain tells a story divided into four chapters:
Songs 1 - 6 describe the area and some historical events that occurred in Hurley.
Songs 7 - 10 reflect all the different stories, dances and relationships of the varied people who settled here throughout the decades. The sound of the tractor can be imagined as a farmer going to the barn for a dance.
Song 11 brings the changing of times when a modern recording studio is constructed from an old cow barn.
Songs 12-14 begin the journey home from this magic place to the spiritual life.
1. Golden Morning
This composition features an accordion solo that reflects the beautiful and tranquil early morning sunrise over the Hurley fields.
This historic old road is flat and its curves hug Hurley Mountain on one side and the lush fields of the farms on the other. Early in the spring when the fields are first plowed, people walk the fields to search for buried treasures and clues to the past. The Crowmatix's recording studio is on Hurley Mountain Road and right down the block is a spiritual and legendary waterfall with beautiful cascades. This song is based on a traditional work song with call and response vocals. It evokes an earlier time when people delivered the news of the day, singing back and forth to each other, from one field to the next.
Many people who came to this area first settled in Kingston NY in Ulster County.
Due to Kingston's location right next to the Hudson River and its many thriving industries, it was named the first Capital of New York State. During the Revolutionary War, when the British burned Kingston to the ground, people searching for a new life and freedom in the farmlands, escaped to Hurley and settled where Native American Indians had lived for centuries. Old Hurley served as the temporary capital of New York State and Hurley became the main agricultural community supplying grain and corn to the growing communities of New York State.
Villages were started in the valleys surrounding Hurley, including Ashton, Ashokan, Glenford and West Hurley. These towns were 100 miles north of New York City and had to be moved in 1917 when New York City residents identified a need for a dependable water supply. The resulting land condemnation, flooding of the valley and creation of an underground piping system formed the Ashokan Reservoir and other reservoirs to supply drinking water to New York City. Many people who lived in these villages protested, and Ashokan, West Ashokan, Glenford and West Hurley were resettled in new locations on the shores of the reservoir. However, the town of Ashton was never relocated.
On Hurley Mountain Road, four family farms were located right next to each other in an area known as The Hurley Flats. Hurley is rich in Americana history, and once a year all the farming families would gather for a family reunion. This song is dedicated to the close-knit agricultural community of families who lived here.
In many farming areas, low flying planes have sprayed crops for years and Hurley is no exception. Since chemicals used by farmers to protect their crops can sometimes be harmful for human consumption, environmental groups have challenged this practice. Today, improved methods are being put in place.
Jimmy Reed was born in the farming area of The Mississippi Delta and is revered as one of America's great heritage blues performers. He wrote this blues song to describe the tensions of love and it's used here to introduce the 'personal relationship' section on the Music From Hurley Mountain CD. Farmers and their families had gatherings and barn dances so folks could meet each other, marry and eventually keep the families growing in Hurley.
8. John's Tractor
Music From Hurley Mountain is dedicated to John & Anna Kaufman whose property was one of the four original Hurley Flats farms. On their land, an old cow barn was converted into a recording studio that has been The Crowmatix' work place and studio for decades. The Kaufmans were gracious people with a very positive outlook about all the musicians who came to record in this very special setting. This audio recording features John Kaufman driving his classic John Deere tractor by the studio. He chugged by on many a day, and Louie just put a microphone out the window to capture a moment.
9. Four Farmers
Many barn dances were held in Old Hurley and the dances of choice were either contra or square dances. Members of the four farming families loved the old Irish reels and Old Time music. This is dedicated to all those who love the heritage songs from the Celtic and American traditions of these genres, with a special nod to "Turkeys in the Straw."
Ballads are always popular at dances because they give couples a chance to slow dance and get to know each other. This beautiful, intimate love song was written by Professor Louie & Miss Marie in the 1950's & 1960's tradition. Families like those who lived on the four farms in Hurley were sometimes inspired by the music to begin loving relationships.
Music From Hurley Mountain was recorded at LRS Recording Studio, located in the middle of The Kaufman farm across from Hurley Mountain where Aaron "Professor Louie" Hurwitz and many engineers & producers in the Hudson Valley recorded & continue to record with legendary & local musicians. The studio, in existence for thirty years, became known in the area as The Rock 'n' Roll Barn.
All good things must come to an end and this song starts the final chapter of the CD. The families that started the farms grew old and many passed away but their love goes on as they moved into the next world...let's go forever...we'll always be together.
A universal American Gospel Music song widely known in the 19th century Folk tradition and recorded by celebrated artists. Many farmers lived by old traditions and followed religious laws. According to some family members, when one of the 4 farmers passed away in Hurley, the lyrics of this song were found on a piece of paper still in his typewriter.
14. Good Night Hurley Moon
An accordion original composition that reflects sonically the beautiful and tranquil feeling of the Hurley moon over the fields when the days work is done and all is at rest.
A Brief History of Hurley
Hurley, NY was first settled in 1661. It's located in Ulster County, NY, west of the City of
Kingston (the first Capital of NYS), east of Woodstock, and 100 miles north of New York
City. The "Rock 'n' Roll Barn" is on Hurley Mountain Road, just outside Old Hurley.
Today, Hurley's fertile farmland is home to the Hudson Valley Farm Hub and a small,
close-knit community: many Hurley families have lived here for generations.
Hurley has always been an agricultural community, first settled by the Esopus and
Lenape Native Americans, and then by Dutch and English families during the Colonial
period. In 1777, the historic Town of Old Hurley served as the temporary Capital of New
York State when the British burned the City of Kingston and routed inhabitants during
the American Revolutionary War.
The discovery of fine quality shale known as Blue Stone in the town's northern forests
made the region vital to the quarry industry. After the Civil War until the turn of 20th
century, about 200 tons a year of bluestone were hauled to Kingston by wagon and
shipped by barge to New York City for use in road curbing, sidewalks and building
In the early 1900s, New York City's need for a dependable water supply led to land
condemnation and the flooding of this valley to create the Ashokan Reservoir. The
flooded villages of Ashokan, Glenford, West Hurley and others were resettled nearby, but
many villages and hamlets, including Ashton, were never relocated.
Old Hurley celebrates its heritage each July on Stone House Day, and residents
(including descendants of original settlers) who live in several 300-year-old stone homes
open their doors to the public. Ten of Hurley's 25 original stone homes, some of the
oldest in America, are clustered in a quarter mile area of Main Street that has been
designated a National Historic Landmark District. All are privately owned, except for
one, which contains the Hurley Heritage Society's museum.
Today, the "Rock 'n' Roll Barn" (aka LRS Recording Studios) sits in the midst of four
large farms on Hurley Mountain Road. This farmland is now used by the Hudson Valley
Farm Hub, which was established in 2013 to keep farming strong in the 21st century
through regionally focused field research and innovative training programs for local
growers. For more information, visit Woodstock Records.