Artist: Micah Vierling
Album: The Factory
Letís face it, a singer-songwriter lives and dies with his lyrics. Personally, I canít count how many CDs I have from artists whose voices are less than spectacular, whose musicianship lacks anything resembling virtuosity. Despite this, I cherish their songs and go back to them year after year. I do it for the lyrics. I do it because these artists speak to me in ways no one else can. Their words resonate with my spirit. Your collection of music and mine may be different, but I am betting there are songs and artists who speak to you, or you would not be here reading these reviews.
As a songwriter, I endeavor to capture this magic in my own lyrics. But letís be honest; it isnít easy. Anyone can write a song. The mechanical elements of rhyme and meter and structure can be learned by reading a reasonably good book on songwriting. What canít be taught is how to use words to connect with another human being. I have heard thousands of songs. Iíve read lyrics to thousands more. The vast majority are unremarkable. Most, but not all. This brings me to Micah Vierling.
Micah sent me his latest CD, The Factory, to review. As is my habit, I put it in my carís CD player during my daily commute. I try to be fair and give the artist two, three, four songs to make an impression. Micah got me right out of the box. The first few lines of Back to Mexico were all I needed to hear to realize this guy was different. Once I heard the teaser, I had to hear the whole story. And it is a compelling story. It touches on the complexities of human relations and how sometimes a shared deception is easier for both parties.
Humility Blues for Alice is a story about the reversal of fortune. There is always someone in our lives who seems to have the world by the tail. They have the friends, the connections, the charm, the style which make their lives so much easier than our own. But then, as is so often the case, in the end they lose their advantages and have to work that much harder to make it through. This is the story of Alice and how despite her setbacks the singer is still there for her.
Micah revisits this subject again in Meat on your Bones, but this time from the other perspective. In this case it is the singer who is down on his luck, and someone is reaching down into his darkness to rescue him. If we are lucky we have such a person in our life when we need them.
This collection of songs presents life in all its unvarnished glory, but it isnít all darkness and despair. There is within each song an element of hope and ultimately redemption. Beyond that, each story is told with pathos and bit of self-effacing humor. The Factory is worthy of time and consideration.
For more information on Micah Vierling check out his web site at www.micahvierling.com or his myspace page at www.myspace.com/micahvierlingsmusic. You can hear samples from The Factory and his two previous releases.