On Cowboy Fandango Mike adds a little more cowboy shuffle to his signature "Prairie Blues" sound to take us, through 13 original songs on a guided tour of the West he knows. From the prairies, mountains and plains of Wyoming, to the ranches, dancehalls and honky-tonks, it's a sometimes edgy, always interesting ride. His songs are peopled by a cast of characters as diverse as the landscape they inhabit. There's cowboys and cowgirls,outlaws and bankers, bartenders and beauty queens, quirky horses, dancing badgers, ghosts and aliens. Funny and bittersweet, there's an overall sence of joy that runs through the songs, making the listener feel easy in this wild and often crazy place that Hurwitz calls home Mike is joined on Cowboy Fandango by his longtime touring and recording band The Aimless Drifters on pedal steel, mandolin, fiddle, harp, bass and drums. The boys compliment Mike's warm baritone singing and fluid guitar playing with a goodtime country roadhouse or plaintive lonesome-cowboy groove that fits the songs perfectly,with guest appearences by Juni Fisher, Pop Wagner,and Nancy Thorwardson. The cover art is by much lauded Montana artist and snake handler Parks Reece "As was not the case on his last two albums, Cowboy Fandango consists entirely of his own compositions. Happily, he's a supremely able writer -- I've known that since the first time I heard him several years ago, when his self-penned ballad 'Old Broncbuster' (on his 2002 Bunkhouse Blues disc) passed through my ears and dazzled my brain -- who can carry the load with something of the aplomb of Ian Tyson in his prime. Too observant of the passing scene to waste time contemplating the ol' navel, Hurwitz does not traffic in the usual singer-songwriter piffle. His songs, set in the Old and New West, are propelled by oak-sturdy folk and honkytonk melodies, and they're populated with flesh-and-blood characters -- heroes, fools and other human varieties, each vividly portrayed." -Jerome Clark Rambles.net "The recordings of Michael Hurwitz, an honest-to-goodness cowboy from Wyoming, have become favorites of mine over the past several years and Cowboy Fandango is another one that I can't stop playing a lot. He's got one of those comfortable voices and delivery styles that makes me think I'm listening to an old friend- we've never even met- and the arrangements, built around Michael's acoustic guitar and featuring instruments like fiddle, pedal steel, mandolin and a very tasteful rhythm section, are timeless sounding like they could have been recorded recently or anytime in the past 50 or 60 years. Plus, his songs tell stories that make you want to listen from the first line to the last as he sings about the west, about cowboys, ranch life or about the life of a singer who plays for cowboys. Something else that draws me into Michael's songs is the way he sometimes follows the same folk process template as Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, John Prine and many others by putting his new words onto tunes from older songs. Michael's songs stand tall alongside the earlier classics. If, like me, you're a fan of the cowboy songs of Ian Tyson and Tom Russell, you should be listening to Michael Hurwitz" -Sing Out!
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