For singer/songwriter Micah Vierling, the words “fresh perspective” might be the best way to describe his songwriting. The Dalton resident knows that most of life’s experiences — both good and bad — are fairly universal and have been felt by all and that many songs have been written about such experiences. What he tries to do, he says, is put a different spin on them or address them from a different angle.
Creatively fulfilling? Absolutely.
“People focus on different parts of the songwriting process,” says Vierling, who combines folk, rock and blues into his sound. “Some people go for the music. I do lyrics. That’s my thing. Just finding creative ways to express these thoughts, which people have expressed in different ways for many, many years, and to just try to put a new twist on them or see a certain emotion through lyrics is a great release for me, emotionally. That’s what I do to release all of this stuff inside.”
Vierling, 30, is a native of Maine, spent time in Lancaster County and now lives in Dalton. His new CD, “The Factory,” is his third album and is an 11-song collection. It was self-produced and recorded at his home studio. He laughs when telling the tale of his first songwriting experience at age 12.
“I had a crush on one of my Sunday school teachers,” he says. “That’s what got me started. The first song that I did, I wrote about her, and then I took it and buried it in my backyard in a plastic bag because I was so embarrassed. That was a long time ago.”
These days, Vierling says his inspiration comes not from school teachers but from other sources. Songs on the new CD include “Humility Blues For Alice,” “From Across The River,” “Silver Coin,” “Mystery” and the title track. Technically, he says, it’s almost like a concept album, but more like Springsteen’s “The Ghost of Tom Joad” than The Who’s “Tommy” or Pink Floyd’s “The Wall.” It tells real human stories.
“The album is titled ‘The Factory,’ and the songs are sort of loosely based around that theme,” he says. “The factory is kind of a metaphor for a lot of different things but maybe more than anything, a frame of mind and a way of thinking. There are songs about mercy, capitalism … but it’s all kind of based around the theme of this metaphorical place — the factory. That’s how I put the songs together.”
Vierling names Bob Dylan and Paul Simon as influences, as well as church hymns.
“I remember going to different churches growing up and hearing people sing these hymns and ancient songs with these profound words and interesting phrasings, and now that I have a family and I’m older, I really draw from those songs,” he says. “And not only hymns. I find myself going back to a lot of old, old music. I was listening to some Irish folk music the other day and was really getting a lot out if it. Just to hear the straining of the human voices and people playing their primitive instruments — it really moves me. I gain a lot musically, as well as from the words.”
Also performing on the CD are Janet Adams on violin, Robert Grunza on drums, James Alexander on bass, Leah Truitt on keyboards, Katherine Branscombe on viola and Andrea Vierling on backing vocals. Vierling will appear on George Graham’s “Homegrown Music” show on WVIA in January and will play the River Street Jazz Café on Feb. 13. The CD is also available at Gallery of Sound stores, and the title track appears on the new “Mountaingrown Vol. 4” CD.
“It’s hard to be unique and completely original because we’re all human beings and we’ve all had these same emotions for many years, but I hope that people are drawn to the songs,” says Vierling. “Maybe they can find a bit of a different sort of take. What I’ve seen happening lately with music in our culture is there’s a lot of rehashing and trying to sound like the next guy. In mainstream music, there’s a lot of remakes of older songs. It’s so refreshing for me to hear somebody doing something else, and I guess that’s what I hope people are drawn to when they hear these songs — that it’s not so different that they can’t relate to it, but it’s a little bit unique, with a different twist on he melody, the words, or a way of looking at something.”