Intimate, powerful, gorgeous. Micah P Hinson’s live music sounds like fucking butter.
On 5 May, the Tennessee born songwriter performed at ATP Pop Up, charming ground floor of former recording studio Total Refreshment Centre, in Dalston, London.
“This Texan can say even more than what he plays. Remarkable experience!” Comments F. Tonello, 26, audio engineer and Hinson lover.
The ATP date opened the official European tour on occasion of the 10th anniversary of the debut album Micah P Hinson And The Gospel of Progress. A well-earned anniversary indeed for an album that after 10 years is far from being outdated.
The tour will unfold and head South, with seven dates in Spain and four in Italy, spreading throughout the month of May.
“I could play my whole fucking career in two nights guys, we just need a bit of patience,” Hinson said to calm the rowdy crowd.
After a casual explanation for bringing a carton of cranberry juice on stage (“sorry guys, this is what you drink when you fucked up your liver”), Hinson started off with a few big hit classics, Close Your Eyes, and Beneath The Rose.
His oldest records unfurled in front of the small audience, which was by then completely melted to the floor by the bitter, mellow, notes. Don’t You Forget (“I really don’t like this song, but I’ll play it anyways…”), The Possibilities (wow), As You Can See, I Still Remember, At Last Our Promises, Stand In My Way, Behind The Music, Caught in Between, until the final, much waited for, soulful,The Day Texas Sank To The Bottom of The Sea.
The crowd just stood in silence. The artist, however sober for his standards, launched himself in a fierce panegyric of acoustic guitars. Despite his reluctance to actually practice scales (“I fucking hate practicing, although I don’t need the practice, I wrote the fucking thing!”), Hinson knows he can totally afford to proclaim the acoustic supremacy.
After some exquisitely southern remarks, “you guys are so quiet, really, I appreciate it,” Hinson went on with a few songs fromThe Baby And The Satellite, his 2006 album. “My worst record,” he commented, “I was trying to help a friend out, and it didn’t do shit.”
At times reincarnating Bob Dylan, as in the intro of the ecstatic The Leading Guy, mindful of the simplest Jim Morrison, as in Diggin’ A Grave, Hinson blooms of the same genuine storytelling as the American masters that have preceded him. His deep-timbered voice, accent, and sensitivity also overcome Jack White’s flaunted effort to mime the true southern musician. Micah P Hinson is the real thing.
Micah P Hinson And The Gospel of Progress was released by Sketchbook Records in the UK in 2004, followed by a US release in 2005. It was then reprinted by no less than EMI, in 2008.
The older-than-his-age voice tells the stories of his early twenties, when Hinson was overcoming a drug addiction, fleeing home and facing homelessness, spending a few nights in the local jail, but most relevantly, overcoming the first, real, burning heartbreak. When the album was recorded, the Mark Laneganesque artist was only 22.
“Good music comes from bad times,” he open-heartedly commented from the stage, “Jesus those weren’t great times, I’m not even sure they were worth the music…”
However bad, those days earned him an album worth honoring in a decade, in a concert where real folk was intertwined with personal anecdotes, a pregnancy declaration, laugh out loud jokes and confessions on his wasted liver. As the artist announced proudly, his wife is 20 weeks pregnant, despite the doctor’s worries on his own fertility.
“I guess you just need one good motherfucker,” Hinson fairly explained.
Micah P Hinson And The Gospel of Progress, The Baby and the Satellite, enriched by more songs from various EPs, flowed as smooth as honey, in two dense hours of music, in the niche, cosy venue in North London.
Picture standing in front of a stage no more than two feet tall, facing an artist that acknowledges his doubt towards unrehearsed lyrics while wearing a farmer’s jumpsuit holding an old guitar. You cannot help but be transported to a southerner’s patio in the springtime, laying back and offering all ears to his guitar and voice.
Before this relatively undiscovered artist gets too big to truly enjoy his minimalistic performances, whoever loves his music should seize the chance to see him now, and witness a musical miracle of the kind that are few in a lifetime.
Written by Marianna Giusti