An Exclusive Interview with Professor Louie
Professor Louie’s upstate ensemble is an old school Americana template that jams out timeless rock, country, blues and New Orleans influenced originals. – Village Voice
This GRAMMY-nominated Woodstock NY band plays 150 shows every year in the US and worldwide. Led by recording engineer and producer, Aaron “Professor Louie” Hurwitz on vocals, keyboards and accordion, The Crowmatix repertoire is steeped in rock ‘n’ roll, blues, Gospel and American roots music, and features a compelling collection of original and traditional tunes. The band’s latest release, Music From Hurley Mountain (Woodstock Records, 2016), showcases music written by Louie and his songwriting partner, vocalist, pianist and percussionist, Miss Marie (Rick Danko). Drummer Gary Burke (Bob Dylan, Joe Jackson), guitarist/vocalist John Platania (Van Morrison) and bassist/vocalist Frank Campbell (Steve Forbert, Levon Helm) complete the talented and versatile quintet.
(They) have grown into a true legacy of Woodstock band. Their new material is soulful and their performance last night (at Sugarloaf Performing Arts Center) was the highlight of the evening. – Stan Beinstein, radio executive (WPDH, WDST) & concert promoter
Professor Louie & The Crowmatix began as the studio backing band for Aaron Professor Louie’s musical productions with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees, The Band. Louie produced Jericho (1993), The Band’s first album of new music in 16 years, and their final group recordings, High on the Hog and Jubilation. The Crowmatix also worked on numerous solo recording projects and live performances with Rick Danko, Garth Hudson and Levon Helm. “Working with Rick, Garth and Levon for 15 years was a great honor – and a lot of fun – and we’re proud of the music we created together,” says Louie. “Their love of crafting musical stories based on American history had a strong influence on us, and I like to think we’re continuing that tradition in The Crowmatix recordings.”
All the best parts of great music are on display with Professor Louie & The Crowmatix. It’s clear these folks are driven to match the all time greats. – Cash Box Magazine
The Crowmatix have released 12 recordings: Whispering Pines (2009) was nominated for five GRAMMYs. Professor Louie & The Crowmatix were inducted into Southern Canadian Blues Hall of Fame and International Blues Hall of Fame, NY chapter. Louie received the 2015 Robert H. Chambers Award for Excellence in the Traditional Arts from Common Ground on the Hill.
AARON PROFESSOR “LOUIE” HURWITZ: What a rare ‘5-tool player’ is to baseball, Professor Louie is to the music business. – Accordion Americana
Professor Louie is a seasoned live performer, prolific recording artist and talented multi-instrumentalist (Hammond B3 organ, piano/keyboards, accordion, vocals). An award-winning recording producer and engineer, he has captured the talents of some of the world’s most highly acclaimed musicians, including Graham Parker, Commander Cody, Dave Brubeck, The New Riders of the Purple Sage, Guy Davis, Oumar Konate, and, most notably, The Band: For 15 years, Professor Louie served as co-producer, engineer and performer with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees, teaming up with The Band for their last three group albums (Jericho, High on the Hog, Jubilation) and numerous solo projects for Rick Danko, Garth Hudson and Levon Helm.
Rick Danko christened him Professor Louie due to his work and friendship with The Band (Helm’s middle name is Levon, Hudson’s is Garth, and Hurwitz’ is Louis). “It was really a great honor,” he says, “and many music industry people, especially those on the business end, knew me as Professor Louie, so I kept it.”
Born in Peekskill, NY, Louie honed his musical chops in the NYC area. He toured the country with folk, R&B and blues bands, and performed on the Gospel circuit as organist for The Mighty Gospel Giants of Brooklyn. He eventually settled in the Woodstock area and, in the mid-1980s, formed his GRAMMY-nominated Americana band, Professor Louie & The Crowmatix to back-up Helm, Danko and Hudson. The Crowmatix have since toured worldwide and released 12 CDs on their Woodstock Records label, including Music From Hurley Mountain (2016). Louie and his songwriting partner, Miss Marie Spinosa, have published 100+ songs, including “Melody of Peace.” It was recorded with The Prague Radio Symphony & Kuhn Choir; won the International Composition Award from the classical label, ERM/Naxos; has been recorded by numerous symphonies; and was selected as theme for two CBS-6 TV Specials. “Woodstock-Siberia Blues Express,” a documentary about him teaching and performing in Siberia, was featured at the Woodstock and Maine Film Festivals.
Professor Louie was inducted into the South Canadian Blues Hall of Fame (Ontario, Canada, 2011) and The Blues Hall of Fame (NY Chapter, 2012). He received the 2015 Robert H. Chambers Award for Excellence in the Traditional Arts from Common Ground on the Hill.
MARIE SPINOSA: Miss Marie from Brooklyn, NY – singer/songwriter, pianist/percussionist had performed for many years in concert with her own groups in the tri-state area. Miss Marie toured the college circuit before moving to upstate NY. She has co-written many of the songs on Professor “Louie” & The Crowmatix releases. Miss Marie’s strong vocals and percussion can be heard on varied recordings: “Deserter’s Song” by Mercury Rev, “Jubilation” by The Band and also with Four Men & A Dog. Her soulful background vocals are featured on Rick Danko’s “Sip The Wine” single CD and also on Rick Danko’s “Times Like These” CD. Miss Marie’s percussion can be heard on Garth Hudson’s CD “The Sea To The North”. Miss Marie has a solo CD with The Crowmatix “Collection.
FRANK CAMPBELL: Frank played bass with The Rick Danko, Levon Helm duo tours of the 70’s and early 80’s. From there he moved on playing with Steve Forbert and relocated to Austin, TX. Frank then moved back to the Woodstock area and teamed up with “Louie”.
JOHN PLATANIA: Guitarist/singer/writer has performed on many of Professor Louie & The Crowmatix CD’s. He has been on the road with The Crowmatix for the past few years. John has had a long history of recording and touring with major act such as Van Morrison, Chip Taylor, Don Mclean and more producing four acclaimed albums for blues performer Guy Davis.