Life has a strange habit of never exactly going to plan; just when it seems even, life throws a curve ball to put things off balance. Some may call it karma, while others call it luck. Following a turbulent and well documented few years in his late teens, 2004 saw Micah Paul Hinson catapulted from being a skate-kid down on his luck to making one of the year's finest and most critically acclaimed debut albums - The Earlies produced - 'Micah P. Hinson and the Gospel of Progress' (which made numerous Best of 2004 polls including Uncut, The Independent and Time Out) and traveling the world playing with the likes of Iron & Wine, The Earlies, Devendra Banhart, Smog and most recently being invited on tour with KT Tunstall and Richard Hawley.
"I find it strange that the amount of prescription drugs I was taking during the recording and promotion of 'The Gospel Of Progress' record was far less than what the press boys and girls were thinking and writing!" offers Micah. "At that time, I had found my way out of a great deal of those vices. I had found them overall very tiresome and if something, in the end, only serves to make you and your soul weary, it is in no way worth the time spent. Though once I had found this little bit of truth, the gods sent a bit of a gloomy luck down on me and life went left, instead of maybe right".
The sudden turn of events was definitely ones of life's curve balls. After celebrating Burns night in 2005 in his hometown ("quite a strange thing to do in Abilene, Texas"), a 'high-spirited' friend playfully hit Micah square in the small of his back. "I went paralyzed for a moment, sucked it up and went back to life". However, "over the next few weeks the pressure caved in and I could barely stand up. I was hunched over in constant pain". With a imminent tour of Europe in the spring of 2005 to support 'The Baby and the Satellite' EP, Micah says, "I had to get back on the horse and ride it again. It was like having to share a bed again with an ancient, ugly lover - the dose was 40 mg of Codeine (Opiate), 100 mg of Soma (muscle relaxer), 2 mg of Xanax (anti-anxiety and mind-eraser), 400 mg Neurontin (anti-loony), and a few others, and all this within every given day of my life". Ironically, Micah found himself back on the same prescription drugs he had been addicted to before he made 'The Gospel Of Progress', but under very different circumstances.
With little knowledge of just of how serious his back condition was, two months on the road aggravated his initial injury to breaking point. Returning home to the US, Micah was rushed to hospital for back surgery. "I was in hospital for weeks. I couldn't turn myself for over a month, had a walker, a corset (not unlike the corset on 'The Gospel of Progress' artwork), a shower chair as I couldn't properly stand. I had to piss sitting down for awhile. Basically a living nightmare".
"The reason why I tell you all these things is because I want you to see and read where my life was when I began and finished this record. I did the majority of the recordings sitting around the house, during the times I could actually get out of bed. Friends came to Abilene from all over to record their parts". Eric Bachmann (Archers of Loaf, Crooked Fingers) lent a helping hand and arranged the strings and horns, while Micah's current touring partner and 'Gospel Of Progress' veteran, H. Da Massa, traveled from Manchester, England to lay down harmonica. Micah christened the band 'The Opera Circuit'.
That brings us back to where we started and life's curve balls. "Looking back, it's special. The sense that I was out of commission physically and here these friends came to create beautiful music that before never existed".
Perhaps life does right itself in the end...?