Mike Stinson To Release
Hell and Half of Georgia July 30
Produced by R.S. Field (Prine, Justin Townes Earle, Shaver, Todd Snider)
Three years after he departed Los Angeles for Texas, Mike Stinson is set to release Hell and Half of Georgia July 30, 2013. Produced by R.S. Field (Prine, Justin Townes Earle, Todd Snider, Shaver, Hayes Carll), Texas is glad to have him - and they don’t mess around when giving out songwriting accolades. Described by Billboard Magazine as the “king of the neo-honky-tonkers,” Stinson fell in love with Texas and reaffirmed his deep-rooted honky-tonk and roadhouse jones.
After 18 years in arid southern California, where he was king of the honky-tonk scene, he wrote “Died and Gone To Houston,” an expression of love for his new hometown that could be the city’s anthem. And on “Box I Take To Work,” a self-effacing account of the stuff he lugs to every gig, he sings, “I got a torn envelope that says band money. Let me tell you that’s an oxymoron honey.”
While Field has revved up Stinson’s songs, honky-tonk prevails with “Put Me On,” channeling the pain of Ray Price, or “Lost Side of Town” with its hard-earned self- knowledge admitting - “It took a lot of digging to get this deep / took a lot of laying by myself and losing sleep / it took a lot of aimless wandering around to get this far out here on the lost side of town.”
But while these tunes certainly received a Texas treatment under Dayton’s guidance, these were songs written prior to the Texas move. What really makes Hell and Half of Georgia are the roadhouse rockers that have been laying beneath the surface on his previous releases. The surly road-tested “May Have To Do It” swaggers hard, as does rocker, “I Got a Thing For You” with its monumental Keith-Richards-chicken-pickin’ guitar solo.
A rare voice in this cluttered world of country pop and banjos-for-the-sake-of-banjos alternative country, Stinson has set the bar as high it goes with the monumental “This Year.” One listen to this gripping song establishes that his way with broken hearts captures the torment of love like few can with “I will be your lover but I don’t want to suffer this year…I will be your lover your huffer and puffer, your pusher and your shover.” He also turns life problems into the scorching song, “Late For My Funeral” - “last one to find out I that was deceased / late for the undertaker late for the hearse…last one to see that they were going to feed me to the beast.”
It’s no wonder longtime Los Angeles writers like Robert Hilburn and Chris Morris flipped for Stinson’s legitimacy, his realness, his utter sincerity, and his ruthless pursuit of his art. Texas writers like the Houston Press’s music editor Chris Gray did too: “Mike Stinson moved here as the pen inside Dwight Yoakam's "The Late Great Golden State" and soon gave Houston its best honky-tonk album of the young decade, The Jukebox In Your Heart. A wounded warrior-poet like Bruce Springsteen ("Atlantic City" is a set highlight), Stinson has recorded an as-yet-unreleased follow-up that steps on the gas and lets the heartaches fly.”
The leader of one of the hardest working bands around, Stinson (named as one of Texas Music Magazine’s 2012 Artists of the year) will be playing dates all across Texas this summer including a date with California compadre/counterpart Dave Alvin and a slot on the West Texas Viva Big Bend Festival. Expect a well-received and long overdue California tour this fall.