Hinson was raised a fundamentalist Christian, but by the time he was 19, he'd descended into his own private hell of addiction, jail and homelessness. During his downward spiral, he kept writing lyrics and composing tunes on borrowed instruments, and his dark odyssey is now brought to life with a dismal glory that implicitly praises the power of music as a redeeming force. Hinson's minimal picking is complemented by sympathetic string charts, a taste of pedal steel, some lonesome piano, and a few brooding woodwinds, but it's his fragile baritone -- a voice that sounds like it's about to shatter into a thousand pieces -- that makes listening to this album a harrowing, and strangely exhilarating, experience. "If it doesn't kill you, it'll make you stronger," he sings on "I Still Remember." He's not dead, and the strength in his music will inspire anyone going through difficult emotional times.
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