Published Sat, May 19, 2012 8:40 pm Dateline
Updated Sat, May 19, 2012 8:54 pm
Freak-folk pioneer Michael Hurley looked like a man from another time and place when he took the Nelsonville Music Festival Porch Stage today around 2 p.m.
Despite the oppressive heat, Hurley was decked out in a jacket, long sleeves and a hat, cooing away at an assortment of sleepy hippies and sunburned college kids.
Hurley played alone, armed only with a hollow-body electric guitar and a collection of incredible songs about traveling and wily women who demand that he "get a job.
"We’ve got a bit of an 8-track riot going on in the merchandise tent,' Hurley joked, referencing the selection of recordings he had for sale. It takes some guts to pull off such a lonesome set, but Hurley is a man with guts.
Kent, Ohio, native Jessica Lea Mayfield performed on the main stage at 2:30 p.m., electric blue eyeshadow and all.
She proceeded to skillfully strum through a set of impeccably written originals without much time for stage banter.
By this point in the day, the heat was edging on unbearable, a reasonable explanation for the thin crowd that had gathered around the stage.
Mayfield premiered a handful of new songs, including the heart-wrenching "Seeing Stars." Throughout, she crooned neurotic, soaring songs about relationships and the general pain of the human existence.
Sure, sometimes Mayfield seemed like she might be painfully aware of how talented she is, and maybe some of the songs didn’t quite pop, but overall it was a great performance.
The fact that she welcomed an audience member on stage to propose to his girlfriend was also pretty touching, especially because she said "yes."