Thursday, May 25, 2006

Micah P. Hinson

I love Micah P Hinson. But lately my love had grown cold.

I remember when I heard my first Micah song – the gorgeous, downbeat country gospel of The Day Texas Sank Into The Sea, a couple of years ago on Sean Rowley’s old late night show on BBC London. It made me want to find out more about this mysterious, Biblically-named character. That summer I was pleased to find him supporting Joanna Newsom at the 12-Bar Club, though surprisingly he seemed nervous. He also looked quite young, and not the grizzled old man his voice suggested. I later found out he was only 22.

Later in 2004, I saw Micah again, this time supporting his pals The Earlies at the Scala. Although supporting is a funny word to use, as most of The Earlies were his backing band. It was revelatory. He had been transformed into a country rock star, even if a reluctant one. It’s still one of my top gigs of recent years.

That year his Earlies-produced album Micah P Hinson and the Gospel of Progress was released and it was (and still is) a classic of beautiful, broken ballads, tough waltzes and acoustic rock-outs . It’s not only his vocals that bely his years, his lyrics do too. How to cram such a lifetime’s experience of love, loss, pain and adventure into such a short life? It was one of my albums of the year, and a few others’ too (No.5 in the Rough Trade 2004 chart).

Then last year it seemed to go a bit quiet. Sure, I picked up a copy of his re-recorded and re-released debut album The Baby and the Satellite, which is a more lo-fi affair. Pretty good, but not as glorious as ...the Gospel of Progress. There may have been gigs, but either I wasn’t looking or there weren’t very many.

So I was delighted to see he was supporting Richard Hawley at his Shepherd’s Bush Empire gig last week. And he didn’t disappoint. It’s the most stripped down I’ve seen him – just Micah, a guitar and a guy providing sound effects and harmonica. He sang songs from his two albums – gutsy, heartfelt and soulful. All beautiful. In the end it was too short. The other support (dull, meat and potatoes indie rockers Palace Fires) seemed to have over-run, and Micah couldn’t. Still, we got treated to some new songs, which bode well for the new album, which according to his record company will be out in September. I can’t wait. It’s time to fall in love again…

From The Baby and the Satellite (Buy it)

Download: Micah P Hinson - For Your Eyes

From Micah P Hinson and the Gospel of Progress (Buy it)

Download: Micah P Hinson - Don't You (part 1 & 2)
Download: Micah P Hinson - The Day Texas Sank to the Bottom of the Sea


A couple more photos on my Flickr page

2 comments:

musiclikedirt said...

Superb review, that sums up exactly what I've felt about his output over the last couple fo years.

Was also at the Scala gig, and its in my list of all time favourites. Just thinking about "I still remember" duet gives me tingles down the spine!

Really hope the new album is not disapointing. From what I heard of new material at the free gig he did at Rough Trade a month back I cant say I was entirely convinced... but fingers crossed. An amazing talent needs to be bigger than he is

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