40 Miles From Midnight (2013)
Score – 9/10 Stars
This CD “40 Miles from Midnight” by Portland, Oregon’s own Michael Henchman is sure to one day be remembered as one of the classic good timing Americana CD’s of recent time. Its pure rocking Americana-Country magic the way it used to be, full of cautionary tales, and a passion for life and life on the road. All of this describes Henchman to a “T”, So who is Michael Henchman?
Well in my own words: He’s a songwriter who draws on life experiences from both the interior and exterior vantage point.” His narrative lyrics and sincere performances offer an unobstructed view into the heart of an artist who embraces each moment. In his own words: “I unearthed these stories as songwriters often do, witnessing clues along the byways of our own lives… a woman walking her heart for miles upon miles to find an answer; a man wondering on the irony of a hearse pulling a U-Haul; another tearing a dusty streak across desert towards midnight. These tales are endlessly unfolding; our place as songwriters is to bring light to them, render them, translate their emotion.”
Track 1 ”Circle Back” to the final moments of “Isn’t It Time?” 40 Miles From Midnight hits on all cylinders with a fun musical landscape full of power and happy go luck overtones. One thing that impressed me the most about this album/band is the sheer impassioned folk vibe one gets. There’s an Americana ambience that really sucks in the listener. The CD is professional grade any way you look at it – very professional sounding. The instrumentation and tones give you that genuine feel of good music and writing from a generation ago. It also has a solid feel reminiscent of Country music popular in the early nineties as well.
Henchman reminds me of Jesse Malin, Justin Townes Earle, Wilco, Neal Casal, and Jason Isbell. Despite this I can also hear more modern John Schmitt, The Sweet Remains, slower Jimmy Buffett and Howie Day. All members in his band are solid musically. Kudos goes out to the amazing playing – the proof is in the picking. I also always said you can sell what you don’t truly believe, in this aspect Henchman seals the deal and captures some Lighting in a Bottle that will ring true not only for older more experienced listeners but new ones as well.
My favorite tracks: “Straight On”, “Circle Back”, “Canyon Bones” and the title track.
“40 Miles From Midnight” wraps up a well rounded 11 track line-up that delivers an interesting cross section of classic Americana Folk-Rock, and Classic Country. Once again – Despite this it is accessible to modern day listeners as well. How is this possible? Only an experienced artist armed with an honest, genuine, sincere approach can pull it off. I know I said it before but Henchman is backed up by some solid players, with solid production instincts, a sincere writer’s touch and an acoustic guitar he proves where there is smoke there is fire. Need I say more?
Posted by Scottie Carlito edited by Markus Druery