Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Reviews:: Micah P. Hinson and the Red Empire Orchestra


Micah P. Hinson is happy. For those of you who have known his hardships and followed his career, you might find that statement shocking. For those of you who have never heard of this talented Texas singing ex-con, you might find it terrifying. If this is happy, what else has he been through!

Well, the short answer is more than most. Addicted to pills, and in jail by twenty, crippled by the pain of an ever worsening back, Hinson was the dog's ass still waiting to get that first ray of light. But over time, he's pushed on and finally caught some breaks. Since we last heard from him, Hinson got married, understands true love and even got a much needed kick in the ass musically.

His new record - Micah P. Hinson and the Red Empire Orchestra - was produced by John Congleton and his impact is pretty significant. The sound is terrific, and not once on the record do you feel like Hinson is going through the motions or simply telling a story. Every word seems to have traveled from his lips to God's hand, which is remarkable for a man who spent so much time cursing at and running with the devil. Congleton's connections also played a big role in finding Micah's backing band. The Red Empire Orchestra features members of The Spree and even a traditional opera vet, and the string arrangements are the final, crucial building block that completes Micah's puzzle. The way they take over I Keep Havin' These Dreams is simply breathtaking.

Sure he still sings about heartache and misery (the beautiful single, When We Embraced, is a terrific tale of two lovers drifting) and The Fire Came Up To My Knees is the end of another destructive relationship, but Hinson openly sings of his new love and a lot of the songs on this record are full of optimism. The opener, Come Home Quickly, Darlin', is a piano driven quick hitter, where Hinson pines for his love, counting the minutes till she's at his side. While that may seem like a simple thought, one we've all had countless times, coming from Hinson it feels refreshing, like he's turned over a new leaf.

Life's hardest answers often come from the simplest questions, and on I Keep Havin' These Dreams he's ponders that maybe all he needs is the love of his woman and nothing else. Throw The Stone is only two minutes, but the guitar is light and airy and the strings, organ and bass hit you like a warm, uplifting draft. Hinson's thoughts are clear; get rid of the baggage that ius weighing you down and take back your life. Like a wise man, trying to console another man who is headed down the same path, Hinson offers only the simple admission, "the sun will come for those of you who stay." It will get better. It did for me.

I'm not sure you can find a better message when you listen to this terrific collection of songs. It's realer than almost anything else you will listen to; full of honesty, emotion and most importantly, hope. It's also full of songs that are better than 90% of what people are blogging to death these days.

Posted at 7:43 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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