Micah P. Hinson and the Opera Circuit

Micah P. Hinson and the Opera Circuit

Micah P. Hinson and the Opera Circuit

Micah P. Hinson and the Opera Circuit

Jade Tree

Just a few weeks ago Willard Grant Conspiracy’s latest album trudged through my stereo in the same fashion as all their albums — extremely hit or miss. During the band’s best moments, it’s frustrating to know they collectively can’t pull themselves together to make a excellent album from start to finish. Cut to today and Micah P. Hinson and the Opera Circuit stumbling through my speakers, laying claim to the same alt. country/folk ground as WGC and doing so brilliantly.

Hinson’s songwriting is so sparse and restrained that many of the songs barely break the three-minute mark, but they capitalize on every second of their existence. The opener, “Seems So Impossible,” is so quiet and hushed that it feels as though it’s being played several miles away. The same can be said of tracks like “Drift Off to Sleep,” where the strings and acoustic guitar are surrounded with so much silence it might as well be the foggy remnants of a dream. “Digging a Grave” picks up the pace considerably, producing a accordion-led jig with an undeniable beat despite the noir subject matter. Likewise for the punchy horns and rambling banjo of “Letter From Huntsville.”

The magic behind this disc, however, is in Hinson’s voice and how it, though smoke-scarred and wearied past the point of exhaustion, is able to rough up familiar melodies and make them beautiful. Select few baritone crooners can manage this level of gravitas and still sound natural. Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen are two who come to mind, and while Hinson has years ahead of him to actually attain a spot alongside those greats, his work to date points him solidly in that direction.

Jade Tree Records: www.jadetree.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

From the Archives