Despite being involved in so many projects -- which include the expansive psych pop of the Earlies, the Americana-tronica of the Late Cord, and his work under his own name -- Micah P. Hinson crafts a distinctive sound for each of his musical outlets. Hinson's solo work is rootsier and a little more straightforwardly singer/songwriter than that of the Earlies or the Late Cord, but only just. Micah P. Hinson and the Opera Circuit, his second Jade Tree release of 2006, spans ballads that blossom into guitar epics ("You're Only Lonely"), drunken waltzes ("It's Been So Long"), and lonesome, late-night songs ("Drift Off to Sleep") that are held together by Hinson's ancient-sounding voice, which seems to hold within it an entire dust bowl of yearning and a whole lifetime of experiences. His vocals lend themselves especially well to his ballads, giving a sepia-toned warmth to "Seems Almost Impossible," "Little Boy's Dream," which also showcases the beautiful string arrangements throughout the album, and "She Don't Own Me," a song that sounds so timeless that it's easy to mistake it for a cover of some long-forgotten tune. However, Micah P. Hinson and the Opera Circuit is far from bleak. There's a black-hearted gypsy glee to "Diggin' a Grave," which features sardonic lyrics like "I'm hopin' the sun will never come up/And there'll be no compromise again," while the brass that peppers "Jackeyed" and "Letter to Huntsville" helps make those songs downright cheery. A quietly compelling album, this will please not only fans of Hinson's other solo work, but those who were introduced to him through the Earlies and the Late Cord as well.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares