Micah P Hinson and the Red Empire Orchestra

Hinson's playing by his own rules

Album Review by Jason Morton | 18 Jul 2008
  • Micah P Hinson and the Red Empire Orchestra
Album title: And the Red Empire Orchestra
Artist: Micah P Hinson
Label: Full Time Hobby
Release date: 14 Jul

After a shaky year in 2007, in which he cancelled a string of European gigs due to health problems, 2008 finds Micah P Hinson returning from the studio (in this case, a converted funeral home) with a beautifully crafted album in And the Red Empire Orchestra. Hinson's trademark sound is steeped in Americana: banjos and finger-picked guitars are well placed here, and the Texas native's bourbon-soaked drawl never fails to convey sincerity. Each song on the LP spins a melancholic yarn, aided in tone by delicate string arrangements and austere simplicity. Soft violin hides in the background of stand-out track Tell Me It Ain't So, while You Will Find Me brings it to the forefront in an orchestral rev up. The general style here invites comparisons to time-honoured troubadours such as Springsteen and Tom Waits, as well as contemporaries Crooked Fingers, but it's clear Hinson's playing by his own rules. Standing strong despite persistent back problems, Hinson returns to the UK live circuit this month, and due to the quality apparent on this album that should be met with hearty cheers from alt-country fans. [Jason Morton]

Micah P Hinson plays Latitude Festival in Suffolk on 18 Jul.