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A special column giving a high-five to worthwhile articles and opinions all through the year...
Monday, 21.01.2019, 20:20
oh what a night...
Micah P. Hinson
There was a time when everybody thought America was this wonderful country where everybody was smiling and eating cornflakes and playing with puppies. Enter Micah P. Hinson.

To call him anything but a gun loving redneck would probably be an insult to him. If not ahead of it he’s also called a poet and master musician. He was just a kid from Abilene, Texas, a city of which Kerouac wrote «who the hell would ever want to live there?!» Destiny in the form of escape was offered by the music of Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr. and wolf parade. It’s also where he first picked up skateboard, gun and guitar (not necessarily in that order) and from where he split after during his tumultuous youth for the possibly terrifying world beyond the bucolic Texas panhandle. What followed was that thing about loving drugs / hating drugs, homelessness, jail time, a near fatal car accident, a dark fascination with the apocalyptic and his ongoing obsession with the intertwining of truth and beauty.

Sometimes things look up after you completely destroyed yourself. Like when the young multi-instrumentalist (guitar, piano, accordion, strings and sonorous voice) and songwriter joined two Brits, Christian Madden and Giles Hatton and two Yanks, Brendon Carr and John Mark Lapham (later BBC Radio) in the folk-psychedelic band, The Earlies. What put his name solidly on the map was the sensational solo effort «Micah P. Hinson and The Gospel of Progress« (2004) and the success of his own band, Micah P. Hinson and the Nothing. Tours with diverse bands and several albums followed 2017’s great «Micah P. Henson and The Holy Strangers») followed, his fame started to balloon and so did controversy. Right-wing political views, descent into prescription drug addiction, suicidal leanings and a photo with his starknaked wife Ashley, nipples taped, pointing a gun at the lens. But released also was the recording of his hauntingly beautiful version of «While My Guitar Gently Weeps». Nobody, but nobody, has done it better.

Sometimes things look up after one’s completely destroyed oneself. He’s got a home base now a family with two kids with his wife Ashley. But the song remains the same. His new album is the «When I Shoot At You With Arrows, I Will Shoot To Destroy You»(2018, recorded with his band, The Musicians of the Apocalypse. Songs like «The Sleep of the Damned», «Fuck Your Wisdom», «My Blood Will Call Out From The Ground» are not «the misery fests the titles suggests» says an observer, but expressions of sincere humanity. What they do represent though is more proof of the genius of this cursed poet and singular artist.

The Hunter S. Thompson of gothic Americana country blues. He’s a truthteller and his live concerts can be a cathartic experience to the listener. But as the world insists on being incoherent could it be that Micah P. Hinson is actually its healer?

Anna Coogan
«Her voice is sweet and engaging but has enough salt in it to bring out some of the melancholy and brooding beauty of her lyrics» (The Telegraph UK).
Powerful Bostonian Anna Coogan is a) an alt-folk-rock singer-songwriter and guitarist who trained as an opera singer and b) served humanity as a marine biologist in Seattle, WA. The former points to a high-octane voice to levels that few dare to reach The latter refers to her politically and environmentally engaged art. Which received new life in her current album, the operatic «The Lonely Cry of Space and Time». The title song is a celebration of the discovery of gravitational waves. «Collateral» refers to the 2016 U.S. Presidential «election», «Wishing Well» to inhuman immigration policies and «Burn for You» implores about the darkness of the wars in the Middle East. But she says «Darkness is relative»and she doesn’t entirely give in to apocalyptic anxieties with additional songs revolving around the eternal subject of love. And its complications.

During her time in Seattle, she originated the band North 19 which marked the beginning of the development of her signature bittersweet Americana style, amplified by her noir guitar. Collaborations materialized with multi-instrumentalist and producer JD Foster who has worked with Dwight Yoakam, Patti Griffin, Richard Buckner and the great Marc Ribot (NYC’s heir to Lou Reed if there has to be one). A developmental experience had to be joining the irascible Johnny Dowd on tour, her neighbor in Ithaca, NY where Anna now lives and where she’s a visiting lecturer in music at Cornell University. In 2015 she was invited to compose an original live score for the film «The Fall of the House of Usher» together with TZAR (Brian «Willy B.» Wilson and Michael Park) and it «blew away the crowd» according to an eyewitness. Other similar projects followed, a high mark was an all-electric guitar score for Jean Cocteau’s 1932 masterpiece «The Blood of a Poet». 

All that when she’s not on the road with over 20 European tours to date, among them a visit here at El Lokal and the Blue Balls Festival, Lucerne. Tonight she’ll be performing with drummer and Moog master Brian «Willie B.» Wilson who also worked with her on her current album. Aquawoman Annie Coogan has been casting her net wide and far. With enough room left for a landlocked crustacean like you to get entangled in it.

el Lokal