Musician Spotlight: Micah Wagner

Jan 25, 2019

It all started with a sharp pain in his left arm that quickly turned into numbness and tingling in his pinky and ring finger. He did his best to stay calm, but that’s hard to do when a mystery injury threatens your livelihood.

Micah Wagner is an Austin-based musician who has played and produced music for the last 13 years. He considers himself a Pink Floyd “diehard,” and is influenced by artists like Nick Drake, Justin Vernon, Paul Simon, Dan Aurbacher, and Red House Painters. Micah has worked with artists like J.D. Souther, Dean Dillon, and Willie Nelson. He seeks to produce  “a sound that changes your life— that moment of euphoria and ‘what just happened to me?’ That inspires my music.”

This is the quest that Micah has committed his life to, and within one day, that all was in jeopardy. It all started with a sharp pain in his left arm that quickly turned into numbness and tingling in his pinky and ring finger. He did his best to stay calm, but that’s hard to do when a mystery injury threatens your livelihood. Over the next five years, Micah received care from two neurologists, five different physical therapists, and chiropractors. He tried acupuncture, a different diet, and a different exercise regimen. All of this to no avail. 

Micah describes his journey to a pain-free life as “very difficult, both physically and mentally draining, and ultimately too costly to maintain.” While his pain had subsided, it never went away completely, making both playing guitar and day to day life difficult. Eventually, he thought to accept that his pain may be a permanent part of his life. 

Then, Micah was introduced to Dr. Alton Barron through the Health Alliance of Austin Musicians (HAAM). Micah learned that he was struggling with nerve damage due to extended compression and with time Micah has a bright outlook on recovery. Even on his worst day, his arm is 50% better six months after his procedure. With MTF’s help, Micah saw light at the end of the tunnel.

Micah had this to say regarding his experience with the Musician Treatment Foundation:

“It’s rather emotional, to look back on all of the failed attempts, ultimately relinquishing control and submitting to the idea that my injury may never be better, and I would just have to accept it as part of my life. And then seemingly out of nowhere to be introduced to Dr. Alton Barron and MTF, and within 3 weeks to have completed the surgery and be on the way to recovery. I still feel like it was a dream. Nothing works that smooth, quickly, or with such care. Nothing… Yet here I am, 6 months later with my arm in recovery and with such a deep, profound gratitude for Dr. Alton Barron and every person at MTF.”

Micah has a number of projects, as artist or producer, that were just released or will be released over the next 12 months:

  • Micah’s second album “Grounded” is a prequel in a sense to his album “7 Years, 6 Months Late.” The new album will tell the story of the boy he was, and will be composed of 7 specific songs written during those formative years, but produced and played by the artist that he is today.
  • Niel Nasset’s 5th album “I Saw You In The Muck” captures Niel at the height of his writing and his carefully crafted ability to convey his message.
  • Kumu (AKA Dave Lovett) released his EP “Devil Dog” at the end of last year with Micah as a proud collaborator on many aspects of the project.
  • Jorge Gallegos’ album “Rainbows and Butterflies” will be released in 2019 and was produced by Micah to show what a wonderful songwriter, singer and artist Jorge is.

Listen to their work:

Musician Spotlight: Allan Mayes

We spoke with Allan to share his story of how he began playing, what brought him to MTF, and what he’s up to now:  How did you get your (musical) start? What inspired you to start playing music in the first place? Like millions of others, the Beatles inspired me to start playing music at […]

Musician Spotlight: Christopher Brown

Christopher Brown has been a street musician, playing in towns and cities across the country for almost 8 years.  He’s also played in music venues in NYC, Boston, Pittsburgh, Eugene OR, Seattle, San Francisco, and many other places.  It’s taken a long time to get to this point, throwing himself into music completely, and having […]

Musician Spotlight: Thor Harris

On average, professional musicians spend over 90% of their time performing live on the road, away from personal and medical support systems. Injuries can arise at any moment from the repetitive intensity of playing instruments and from unexpected accidents. With this in mind, we are a unique nonprofit – in design, scope, and breadth – […]