October AOTM: Micha P. Hinson – and the British Broadcasting Corporation

Micha P Hinson has been on my radar since his debut ‘ Micah P. Hinson and the Gospel of Progress ‘. There was something about that album that ticked so many boxes for me. I think more than anything I bought him. It all seemed so honest and real; him and the album. 

Since his debut I have kept him on my peripheral, but more to the tone of having him on a playlist here and there and that’s about it. It wasn’t until a while ago when I was driving home in the middle of the night and heard his live version of “The Life, Living, Death and Dying of a Certain, LJ Nichols’ did this live album hit my radar. When I say hit, it was more of a punch in the face in the nicest of ways. WTF was this song; and why did it blow me away? The album was ordered; and a few months later you too now will be adding it to your collection. 

Live albums are a funny thing; thee aren’t many and there often is a very good reason for that. Not many artists can pull it off. This is less Eric Clapton on MTV and more sitting in a bar and hearing a guy sing his hart out to a half hearted audience. This album is raw; and highlights how raw Micha P. Hinson is as an artist. Hey, and it’s got the BBC stamp of approval… so that’s got to mean something right?

I will say that it took me a few listens to fully get into this album. Hayley still doesn’t fully get it. Although she has pointed out that since visiting the small town in Canada that I’m from she understands why I love it. 

His lyrics are solid but deep and work.  He doesn’t rhyme just to do so, his content is wholesome. ’Seven Horses Seen’ may just be my current favourite song; it’s catchy and brutal. I’ve changed the lyrics majorly and have started singing it to Olive… she likes my version. 

The ruggedness of his singing style isn’t for everyone, but it grows on you. I’m starting to think that he’s a guy that I would like to sit down and have a beer with. 

I’m mindful that this is a risky one. It’s not for everyone. But that’s why we’re here. Even brother Joey who is a fan of Micha P. Hinson may have mixed feelings about this album. If I can ask one thing of you; like a good bourbon it may be rough around the edges but give it a little time to sink in. 

I look forward to your thoughts. 

9 comments

  1. misterstory

    Hey brother Nolan. Thanks for the disc buddy.

    Yes. I think this is a risky one too but hey, let’s life right on the edge. I think my concerns with this were perhaps less of it being a live album and more of a live album by MPH (actually not sure if that’s true at all but it fits the next point). I have been a fan of MPH since his 2004 debut. I kind of lost him a few albums in and then picked him back up a few albums ago. The big thing for me though is the timing. ‘Micah P Hinson and the Gospel of Progress’ is an album that I bought shortly after I left Laura and moved into my little flat in chapel-moortown-aton with no money and barely any belongs. I’d not yet got my CDs yet and spent my last pennies on a small number of albums. This was one. This debut literally blew me away, musically, emotionally and given what was happening in my life was always going to live long with me. Basically, MPH writes 90 second songs on an acoustic guitar and in the case of this debut, he and his friends elaborate them in beautiful ways. His second album followed the same formula and whilst not quite as strong as the debut was a very welcome addition. I’ve played those two albums consistently for 15 years.

    I’ve considered the debut as an AOTM a number of times and always decided against it. Probably through fear of less than positive responses. I never knew you were a fan Nolan.

    So, I have seen MPH live though only ever with just him, raw, and with his guitar. No elaboration. No folksy / country backing band just him, his narrow vocal range and raw emotional songs being bled out into crappy little venues. One of the best live music experiences of my life came when he told a short story explaining the lyrics of ‘Seven Horses Seen’. He then played the track to a room full of people who loved the song but had never quite understood the weight of the emotions and experiences portrayed. Rarely do you get to witness such a gut punch as this and I am massively glad that I did, with my wife and my little girl in her tummy (I guess this was 8.5 years ago!).

    The version of this track on this album is a problem for me. I was … what was I? Distraught!? Upset? when I heard this version. There are very subtle tweaks to lyrics which change the story and totally change my experience of it. It is a story about a friend. Stacey and I have discussed that perhaps he had learned facts that changed the story and he felt like he had to change the lyrics? Look, basically this is fan-boy territory I know but hey, I’m being asked to pass comment on a musician who is VERY important to me so it was always going to be this way!

    The rest is great. There are some versions of tracks that I think are perhaps a powerful intro for MPH but I also think (VERY STRONGLY) that if you are going to introduce MPH to someone, it should be via his debut. I think Brothers Guy and David will … who knows? I’m interested to hear. I would encourage checking out the Debut? We’ve all got Spotify, we all use it, check the album out and let us know what you think of that too.

    Thanks again Nolan.

  2. misterstory

    PS – The more I listen to this, the more I am thinking this is fanboy only territory. I really don’t want to influence the others but I find this pretty inaccessible!?

  3. misterstory

    PPS – Here’s the album version of Seven Horses Seen … Its been a while since I’ve heard this version but I hope that you can get some of my previous points from checking this out. The strings, backing vocals etc make this an accessible and memorable (if not fookin miserable) track.

  4. David Allison

    On a first listen. Oh boy. I really have a problem with that voice. I mean, I really really have a problem. I’m not even all the way through a first listen, and every time it cracks and crumbles and he fails to find the note, it makes me squirm.

    I fear this may be a big problem with what I feel moving forwards. Anyway, will stick at it….

  5. misterstory

    I don’t think it’s a bad call David … look, this isn’t good. And I am a MPH fan. I come into this with the most good-will and knowledge of the material etc and even I am struggling. He’s never been a great vocalist. Front-man, lyricist yes but not vocalist. However, his voice is a real issue here. Also the acoustic only tracks don’t really feel live. Just … bad. I don’t understand the point. Is it a stocking filler release? It’s definitely not winning any new fans AND its upsetting the existing ones. Sorry Nolan. Brave move but …

  6. whyohwhyohwhy

    This is pretty out of much comfort zone. I’ve only given it a couple of listens but I’m teetering on going back already. It’s not that I don’t like it. I do like – what is this, the blues? Soul? – but I probably say it truthfully where the closest music I own to this is Michael Kiwanuka (brilliant aotm, obv).

    I’m not entirely sure what to make of it, coming totally cold to something that’s so personal to someone else, a risk for both parties. It’s a completely dry perspective on such a familiar object.

    Props for putting it out there, though. It’s not all about obvious choices, just like life.

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