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May 27, 2006

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I'm not entirely sure what it is, but Micah P. has it.

I hear a fuckton of records. More than I dare say. More than get reviewed on Never News. I've heard almost all of it—from the noisy to the traditional, from the lauded to the forsaken.

A lot of the albums I review are follow-ups to records I loved in the past. Sometimes they're from MySpace bands I heard and actually liked. Generally, all of the music I review is music that I have an interest in before they release the album that I'm reviewing, whether it be seeing them live or chatting with them before hand.

Micah P. Hinson is an exception—I hadn't heard him, saw he had a record coming out, and got it. I wasn't one of those guys that heard his earlier and extremely well received discs. In fact, I didn't even know about him.

But I'm in love with his music.

He's got a self-assured voice unlike most songwriters in the indie folk scene (where, if a voice is genuinely powerful it is usually cracked and worn or female), and his writing is pitch-perfect and magical—Micah P. is a guy with a fantastic poet's gift who just happens to have the ability to write fantastic folksy songs and sing them with complete abandon.

It's hard not to compare musicians in the here and now, especially if you want to get people to understand what you hear if they haven't. We've got a ton of fantastic songwriters in our pool of current musicians. We've got some great musical genius, some powerful members to the circuit of noteriety.

Micah P. Hinson doesn't sound like any of them.

He's been compared to a number of people (Bright Eyes, Lambchop, the Sadies or Wilco and Jade Tree's site alone), and the comparisons are somewhat warranted, but not entirely. I think, vocally, the closest thing we've got is Willy Mason, but Micah's got him beat in the realm of poetic enterprise.

This album's got all the traditional flares you could ever need without steeping over the bounds into overdone. Banjo is here, drums and harmonica and brass. But, essentially, these are extremely intimate little numbers with a force behind them that propels them to the realm of classic. This is a record that, while not everyone will buy it, will be of extreme interest forty years down the line the same way that Nick Drake is now—fantastic songs that, in a media barrage of hype, may or may not be overlooked.

But I hope not.

Never News

Colin Reed Moon