When you listen to Mississippi John Hurt perform his seemingly simplistic but mystifyingly rhythmic three-finger picking style, you suddenly imagine katydids buzzing from distant willows. You squint as the waning sun of a mid-July day wraps around your skin, and you suddenly feel a sense of home. You feel warmth, a feeling of honesty, and an air of tranquility from his eyes. It’s nice to be here.
Not quite blues, not quite country, and not quite gospel, Mississippi John Hurt never wanted to be famous. And before he was rediscovered in the Folk Revival of the early sixties by an adventurous musicologist named Tom Hoskins, he certainly wasn’t. Now, his influence is everywhere and his music still feels timeless.