“Walking Medicine” by miQa.el

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Swedish country music artist and songwriter miQa.el began his career under the handle Hicks. Events of recent years, however, have inspired him to shake things up. He’s tossed the Hicks identity into a deep dark closet and now refers to himself as miQa.el as well as revamping his approach to writing, singing, recording, and releasing new material.  It doesn’t mean we are dealing with a completely different performer than the musician and songwriter who’s scored numerous Gold and Platinum hits in his native Sweden as well as building an impressive streaming presence with well over 160k Spotify streams and growing.

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/TherealmiQa.El/

There’s a much fuller approach to interpreting country music that incorporates outside influences and rejects a purist take. miQa.el is not interested in pastiches. His new single “Walking Medicine” holds onto country music tropes while introducing a bevy of new voices into his songwriting vision. There’s a bit of “found sounds” in the song as well. The way he uses percussion in the song breaks with how we’re accustomed to hearing drums. Percussion isn’t a constant presence, as well, but when we hear it, it strikes a crucial note.

It isn’t a lengthy track. miQa.el resists any inclination toward self-indulgence and instead keeps his focus on delivering a tight and soulful modern country cut. He doesn’t rely on his voice and guitar alone, however. There is a modicum of electronic instrumentation added to the song that helps further flesh out its possibilities and the aforementioned percussion gives the song a rhythm that anchors its presence for listeners.

He wisely doesn’t let things go on too long. He’s written each passage of the track to serve specific ends and they interlock as they should. miQa.el never overstays his welcome, however, and as soon as he makes his musical point, he moves on. This is a song that can succeed on the radio or live and the amount of rearranging needed for the latter isn’t immense. I believe “Walking Medicine” will be a successful live track for miQa.el.

The lyrics deliver a message that any listener will recognize. It is open to interpretation, however, and the mix of generalities and specifics in the words balances well from beginning to end. miQa.el is every bit as talented as a writer as he is a musician and the well-rounded presentation he gives the song helps it excel.

Traditional country music fans will hear a lot here that they love. Alternative country music fans and those who normally wouldn’t listen to this style are bound to appreciate the song as well. It has an inherent faithfulness to the form that’s impossible to ignore while mixing modern attributes into the song. It is fair to call it a stylistic synthesis, yet it’s one that never loses its heart. There’s no unnecessary experimentation going on. Few songwriters this year sound as confident about where they are going. It’s been a defining element of miQa.el’s career so far and, even with the name change, there’s no reason to believe that will stop.

Trace Whittaker