Micah P. Hinson - The Red Empire Orchestra
Micah P. Hinson – The Red Empire Orchestra
By Barbara Fara
"Damn right I am happy. I have won! The race is over! I truly have found the love of my life and a woman who loves me unconditionally!" – Micah P. Hinson
Micah P. Hinson was born in 1981 in Tennessee. First, I give Micah credit for producing Dream Brothers: Songs of Tim and Jeff Buckley – that really must have been an honor for him to work on this album. Micah comes off as a deeply personal and private personality. The only thing he has done publicly is to recently ask his girlfriend to marry him onstage. Now if you were a girl whose boyfriend asks you to marry him onstage in front of tons of people, what would you say? She said yes, because clearly she loves him very deeply. We wish them luck and love and happiness and that their marriage survives as long as Johnny and June Cash's did. When I hear Micah's voice, I hear Johnny. My question before we even look at the tracks is why Nashville hasn't already signed him. They should be looking at this artist. Someone asked me who would be able to replace Johnny Cash: my answer is Micah P. Hinson.
Micah, on your last track, Dying Alone, let me give you a piece of advice: when we are born we are surrounded by family. When we die, we die alone. But thinking about it, the people who have loved you throughout your life are all around you. When you die, you will be surrounded by spirits that love you and are waiting for you. They will greet you with open arms. This is to Chris Morgan and to every other reviewer that is about to review this CD. Why does everybody have to bring up his history about his back issues and his arrests and his so called addiction to painkillers? There have been countless musicians that have injuries and need medication to cope with the pain. I do not want to hear one bad word about Micah P. Hinson and his drug use. Every review recycles the same information and no one sounds like they bothered to actually listen to his music. So, to Mr. Morgan and every other reviewer that recycles rather than listens, stop looking at his problems and start listening to his music. Here is my question for all you journalist: hypothetically, lets say you have a son or a daughter who is trying to make it big on the music scene and you know that child has been in trouble more than once and you know he has a back injury – would you want that information being spread around the world, or that of his music. He is not Amy Winehouse smoking crack all over youtube. Leave his back condition alone.
When I heard the album brought to me by my secret source– my cat Ra-Ra, he found the CD, and told me to listen to it and do a review. And so I did. I usually break up my CDs track by track. This one I could not do that way. I cried during the entire CD. It is heart wrenching, it is soul-breaking and it is country the way country should be. I do not know why Micah has not broken the charts yet with any of his past releases. When you bring in John Congleton (The Polyphonic Spree, Explosions in the Sky, Black Mountain, Antony and the Johnsons), you have a masterpiece on your hands. As I said earlier, somebody once asked me if I could recommend someone to become the next Johnny Cash, and I have found it in Micah P. Hinson. He writes with deep emotion from the soul, and he puts it all together with that Johnny Cash darkness. His dark gravelly voice sounds like Johnny's, but he looks like a cute older Harry Potter. Adorable. I have never compared anybody to Harry Potter before. I have compared people to drinks, to different musicians, but this is the first time I have found a Harry Potter reference to throw in.
If you have parents or grandparents, or even people your own age that love old country music, they will love Micah P. Hinson. This would be the CD that I would buy and let them listen to it, and then surprise them with their own copy. He spends a lot of time touring in Europe, as they appreciate him more that people here in the States for some reason. Europeans are open to different genres of music, and I can see why they fell in love with Micah P. Hinson. I can see him touring with Shooter Jennings and or Hank Williams III, the grandson of the great Hank Williams SR. The album itself must have been written prior to meeting his soul mate, now his wife; we do wish them the best of luck. He deserves some happiness. As we know, the album will be released first in Europe and then next month in the US. This should be a treat for everyone and if his European fans really care about him, and I know they do, I know they will want to share him with the US. Europeans tend to have weird taste in music; but if there is an artist that they really love and understand, they will push him to the US to let us see what they have found: the wonderful Micah P. Hinson.
Yes, his music is dark; it's melodic, and very truthful. Micah has a great career ahead of him and he should be proud of that. When John Congleton brought in the string section for this album, he knew what he was doing. The strings are fantastic. The banjo reminds you of what country music used to be and you have a lot of artist out there trying to bring back that old country feeling from their music, and I give them credit for it. Here's the bitch: all you boys and girls on country music row, kissing ass, and that is a quote from a Hank III song – Micah has kissed nobody's ass in the industry. It's effortless and flawless and he is a self made man. He is a natural poet and writer.
As I said earlier, these heartbreaking songs had to be written prior to meeting his wife. And all that pain he has carried physically and emotionally just poured out of him like a river.
Why have I not seen a video yet for this album? Why does he get no US airplay outside of college radio? His music should be played on every national radio out there.
Micah should put out a cover album of old country ballads. Believe it or not, when you write, Micah, you become something like the Jim Morrison of country – and I never compare Morrison to anyone. You should really think about putting out your own ballads – don't be afraid of what people would think, you don't need them, you are Micah P. Hinson. You ARE the new Johnny Cash, and you should be proud of that. You just got the greatest compliment that I give out.
If anyone is suffering from any type of disease, mental, physical or otherwise; or if you just happen to be a big fan of country music; this will bring a smile to your face.
I want to know why this man has not been offered a chance to perform at the Opry. He absolutely should. He deserves to be up there with the great ones. So if anyone in the country music associate: HINT! Get him on the Opry.
I think it's very fucking cool that you recorded this album in a funeral home that had been turned into a studio. That must have been the eeriest experience in the world, and fittingly dark and somber. I would have loved to be there with my camera to shoot and see what dead people I could catch on film. I do know you brought those souls piece of mind. Question, Micah, did you see any ghosts? I will find that out in the interview – and yes, I am going for an interview – if you ever decide to record at that funeral home/studio, you better invite me and my camera to go ghost hunting while shooting you.
Here is my question for everyone: Micah has put out his freshmen album in 2003, then his sophomore album in 2005, his junior album in 2006, and finally in 2008 we get his senior album. I do not understand, as a music journalist, why I have never heard of him prior to today. I have not heard his first three CDs, but I can imagine what they sound like after hearing this one. It's a crying shame that there has been no national radio airplay, and he should be touring the states. His first album featured his ex-girlfriend's back tightly corseted, the second album is her legs (both album covers are beautifully and dramatically done – I would love to know who the photographer was). When Led Zepplin released the album 'In Through The Out Door', the album was packaged into a paper bag sleeve, which reminds me of his third album cover. The cover of the latest release is very touching and intimate; I think it is a beautiful shot of him holding his new bride. The part that I like best is that he has a wonderful partner that supports him in every way and she understands about his back condition. I sincerely hope, Micah, that you and your new wife had tons of little ones to carry on your great talent. I am a chart watcher, and the album, when it breaks into the US next month, better be on the charts, and I hope it breaks at LEAST in the top five. If it were me reviewing for Billboard, he would be a break out at number one. This is a man that you want to catch in concert, a man that you want to buy all his CDs, this is a man that understands the American Dream in its truest form. I think that Micah looks at his fans as family; he does not come off at all as a self centered human being, but a down to earth raw talent. Like Cash and Hank Sr, he is not in it for the money, but the music. I just can't stop talking about him. The big metal-head I am, as you all know me as, and here I am reduced to tears by Micah P. Hinson. Here is a fact for all you little minions: I did actually grow up on country music. The idea is that without country music, there would be no rock n roll, no metal, no alternative, none of that. This album must be bought and shared with everyone that you love. It's a comforting gift for those who are suffering for any reason – a bad marriage, illness, death, etc. As for the people who are not suffering, it is still a great album to explore the complexities of emotions, reactions to major life events, and relationships. I would rate this album 100 out of 100; go and buy this CD. Together we will learn a new genre of music, Micah P. Hinson, the new man in black.