A Little More Fine-Tuning: An Interview with Micah Walk

Photo courtesy of Tara Long Photography

As a full-time musician, with a wife working in the medical field, 2020 heavily impacted Micah Walk.

He watched his wife put herself at risk on a near-daily basis while his work all but disappeared due to the lack of live events. One of the silver linings, however, was the opportunity to create his latest album.

“I know songwriters say this all the time about their latest work, but I do think it’s my best work so far, and I think having lots of time to write and edit has a lot to do with that,” he said.

Among the Stars is filled with tracks about the stages of lockdown (“Stay With Me”) and the toll it took on Walk’s mental health (“In the Dark”). He recorded the album with acclaimed artists Sadler Vaden, Kai Welch and Fred Eltringham, and said working with them was the most rewarding aspect of its creation.

It took a crowdfunding campaign to get the project rolling, but its success gave Walk a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“I’m beyond grateful to all the people who pledged,” he said. “Sadler and the band took all of these songs to another level and I’m thrilled with how this album sounds.”

In a time where many had lost their motivation or creativity, Walk was happy that his need for songwriting is more ingrained in his mind than motivated by a specific mood or instance.

“It may be more intense at certain times, but I haven’t ever felt an all-out loss of desire to do it,” he said. “To me, if it’s something that’s just in you, almost like it’s involuntary, it doesn’t really take motivation.”

A difference in his previous releases is that he spent more time in the editing process than he had in the past. He's thrilled with the outcome, saying that he thinks it's the leanest batch of songs he's had. Lyrically and musically, it doesn't feel like there's anything to trim down. He thanks Vaden for his take on edits to make and sections to extend, showing Walk ideas that he may not have come up with on his own.

“I always feel like the songs that sort of feel like they come out of nowhere tend to be the best, and that’s not different on this album,” Walk said. “But I think being able to dedicate a little more time to fine-tuning them helped a lot.”

Secular humanism is the theme that permeates throughout the whole album, meaning ethical consequences of human decisions do not go hand-in-hand with religion or a belief in a deity. It's more obvious in certain tracks (“Among the Stars”, “High on the High Road”), but plays a part in each one.

Micah Walk hopes Among the Stars can be a small part of the overall movement to normalize being non-religious while sharing his ups and downs of the last year. It's an album that gave him the chance to fine tune the smallest of details and work alongside talented individuals. It's an album that means so much to him, and can hopefully mean the same to its listeners.