Micah P. Hinson - Presents The Holy Strangers

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:9 Release Date:2017-09-08

As Micah P. Hinson declared himself, Presents The Holy Strangers is a “modern folk opera.” The double album is supposed to tell a story of a war time family, “from birth to love, to marriage and children, to war and betrayal, murder to suicide – spanning all of the strange and glorious places life can lead. We follow their story, we see their decisions, we see their faults and their beauty. We live with them, we die with them.” A bold statement and a bold story content, coming from any artist. But if anybody has the right to give his work such a description and to deal with such a story it is Micah P. Hinson.

Let's see what Micah did moving from Memphis to Texas, even before he turned the age of 20. He experimented with drugs, went to jail, fought addiction and had to declare bankruptcy. Most won't go through so many hard knocks in their entire life (not that they should). Then he comes on the music scene and since 2005 released ten albums of most incredible music, including Presents The Holy Strangers.

Throughout his musical career so far, Hinson has proven himself a great songwriter, and a singer with an off-kilter, yet captivating voice. Herein, he follows the basic rules of an opera, albeit a ‘folk’ one. To do that he has included five instrumental tracks that represent the threads throughout the story he is telling. The compositional style varies throughout, but still, there is a certain unified musical thread that keeps the whole thing together and presents it as the unified whole. From uplifting (“Lover’s Lane”) to dreary (“The Last Song”), it all sounds exactly as it should.

The key to the story is the middle, spoken word track “Micah Book One.” Micah sounds like a typical Bible Belt preacher during a Sunday sermon, albeit a bit twisted. After all, he should know, as he comes from a Christian fundamentalist family. As has become something of a Hinson standard, the lyrics are almost impeccable: “These are the final words I’ll sing for you/ these are the final words I’ll give to you”, sings Micah in “The Last Song”.

I certainly hope these are not the last words Hinson will sing to us, and that there will be quite a few more great albums from him such as this one.

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