Posts Tagged ‘Hiss Golden Messenger’

Hiss Golden Messenger

Critically acclaimed indie band Hiss Golden Messenger just announced their anticipated new album Terms of Surrender, with a newly released single “I Need A Teacher.” The project led by gifted songwriter and storyteller M.C. Taylor, seamlessly fuses indie, gospel, and Americana sounds, and his catalogue has grown into a deep well of thoughtful, good-time folk to pull from.

“I Need A Teacher” continues this trend, with sharp lyricism, infectious melodies and harmonies, and a driving guitar line that steers the song along. According to a press release, ‘the video was shot during the statewide North Carolina Association of Educators’ Day of Action demonstration and features a glance into the eyes and faces of real teachers, children, and families that illustrate the humanity and what is at stake for our future.’

The new album features guest appearances by Jenny Lewis, Josh Kaufman and Aaron Dessner of The National, and was recorded at Dessner’s famed Long Pond studio in upstate New York.

Terms of Surrender will be released on Merge Records, September 20th,


Hey, everybody. There are two new Hiss Golden Messenger songs out today: “Everybody Needs Somebody” and “Watching the Wires.”

2018 was a hard year–for myself and, as it turns out, most people that I know–and I was thinking a lot at that time about how to cope with what felt like an unnameable existential crisis: Run for the hills, or hug the nearest stranger? As it turns, I’ve been doing a bit of both. Singing these songs has been helpful to me.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to listen to them. Maybe they’ll speak to you.


The single, “Watching the Wires” is out now on Merge Records.

Much of Scott Hirsch’s musical attention over the past decade has been dedicated to the folk-rock ensemble Hiss Golden Messenger. He’s performed on, engineered, and produced several of the band’s records. As a solo artist, Hirsch brings some of the headier sensibilities of the earliest half of the Hiss Golden Messenger catalog into full bloom. His second standalone effort, Lost Time Behind the Moon, offers a fresh batch of songs that kick back to classic country, tempered with a satisfying dose of psychedelia.

The album’s anxious opening salvos—wriggling, warped guitar and a sparse drum-machine beat, followed by a warm blast of old-soul horns—offer immediate insights into its unwieldy style. Hirsch develops these jittery arrangements as extensions of the album’s overarching themes of love, comfort-seeking, and (as suggested by the title) the passage of time. “Nothing But Time,” for example, finds Hirsch ruminating on the past with familiar remember-when fondness, without becoming too beholden to the good or the bad: “She’s in my head too much now / Not too much in my dreams / And all these tales we’ve spun / They fell apart at the seams.”


The relaxed pace that Hirsch maintains across Lost Time Behind the Moon is a steadying force; Hirsch seems to approach his troubles with clear-headed thoughtfulness rather than scattered panic. Waves of pedal steel and pools of reverberating guitar lend a complementary sense of fluidity to the entire record, abetted by Hirsch’s cosmic lyricism on the lithe instrumental numbers “A Pair of Nines” and “Pink Moment.” By most accounts, reckoning with all the years we’ve lost, wasted—or even just passed without incident—is like fingering some existential hair-trigger. Hirsch’s record, by contrast, provides a comforting reminder of the inverse argument: it’s simply a matter of time.

Mike Coykendall: Drums, Harmonica and additional recording, Orpheo McCord: Drums, Mikael Jorgensen: Keys, William Tyler: Elec Guitar Karl Hunter: Saxophone, Jesse Siebenberg: Pedal Steel, Jimmy Calire: Organ, Lauren Barth: Vocals, Jade Hendrix: Vocals, Yair Evnine: Cello

This limited-edition deluxe Hiss Golden Messenger 4-LP box set includes remastered reissues of Bad Debt, Poor Moon, and Haw plus Virgo Fool, a bonus album of Hiss rarities available physically only with this collection.

Individually numbered in a one-time pressing of 2,200, the four-album set is housed in a beautiful cloth-wrapped slipcase with three-color foil detailing and includes an exclusive foldout poster. Each LP is pressed on black vinyl (with full download) and includes a two-sided insert with liner notes and full lyrics, all housed in a heavyweight jacket with a debossed cover.


Released on November 2nd, Hiss Golden Messenger will release Devotion: Songs About Rivers and Spirits and Children, a limited-edition deluxe box set which includes remastered reissues of the classic Hiss albums Bad Debt, Poor Moon, and Haw as well as Virgo Fool, a rarities compilation that will only be available physically as part of this collection. Both the 4-CD and 4-LP sets are housed in a cloth-wrapped, foil-stamped slipcase and feature original iconographic artwork by Sam Smith, an exclusive foldout poster, full lyrics, and new liner notes by New Yorker writer Amanda Petrusich and MOJO editor John Mulvey. The vinyl set also includes a digital download of all tracks.

The 4-LP / 4-CD box set Devotion, Songs About Rivers and Spirits and Children is out November 2nd, 2018 on Merge Records.

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“Standing in the Doorway” was written and recorded during the making of Heart Like a Levee. I think I was trying to understand if and whether luck was related to my life at the time. I always liked this tune, but it didn’t seem to fit the emotional arc of that album for some reason. It also seemed like it could survive on its own, away from other songs that might give it context. Since Heart Like a Levee came out, a lot has changed in the world, of course. I’m currently writing this from the studio where we’re working on our next record and trying to live in this world with some kind of light.  —M.C. Taylor


This song was recorded with the Spacebomb family—a collection of musicians with deep kinship and connection to Hiss Golden Messenger—in Richmond, Virginia, on February 7th, 2018. They love their families and friends in the same ways that I do mine. I was proud and honored to work with them on this song.

All proceeds from “Passing Clouds” and “Passing Clouds Dub” will benefit Everytown, a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities. I urge you to perform your own small actions of peace whenever and wherever you can. We can make the world we want to live in. 


No spiritual surrender. —M.C. Taylor, Durham, NC

Released March 21, 2018

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Blind Boys of Alabama + Hiss Golden Messenger “When the Wall Comes Down” Luck Reunion Presents in Association with Titos Handmade Vodka, Lagunitas Brewing Company, and Stolen Whiskey

Present: The Luck Mansion Sessions 2017 at the Texas Consulate. In Sept 2017 Luck Reunion took over the Texas Consulate mansion in East Nashville creating an analogue studio space with the goal of inspiring collaboration. Artists were invited to perform live and record 2 songs as part of a series called the “luck mansion sessions”. We provided a house mixologist named “Floyd’, unlimited tape, and a production team to support. this is what happened…

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MC Taylor, the brains and imagination behind Hiss Golden Messenger, has been slowly simmering his particular blend of folk and more mainstream musical styles just below the national radar for years. With this year’s Hallelujah Anyhow, he delivered a collection of songs that sheds light in dark places, encouraging the listener to be grateful for even the hard times. With his warm, comfy vocals, deeply insightful songcraft, and the deft contributions of the exquisitely talented brother team of Brad and Phil Cook — plus some backup from famous friends Tift Merritt and John Paul White — Hiss Golden Messenger unlocked a new level of artistic achievement.

Hiss Golden Messenger perform “Gulfport You’ve Been On My Mind” from their 2017 album, “Hallelujah Anyhow,” live in The Current studio.

Inspired pairing for Three Lobed’s latest box set, featuring lots of sax for Hiss Golden Messenger and strings for Michael Chapman.this album consists of never before released material compiled especially with this collection in mind. the LP is housed within its own letter pressed “matchbook” (similar in nature to the ones used on the eight trails, one path guitar compilation [TLR-091]) bearing new original artwork by casey burns and printed by dexterity press. each LP is pressed on 140g black vinyl pressed at record industry in the netherlands and includes a download coupon. mastered by patrick klem.

Matching up kindred spirits and mutual influences, this volume of Three Lobed Recording’s “Parallelogram” series collects new recordings from Hiss Golden Messenger and Michael Chapman. Both M.C. Taylor (Hiss Golden Messenger) and Michael Chapman have consistently won praise for possessing a certain songwriting prowess and earnest delivery. This LP only helps both artists cement their reputations. The Hiss Golden Messenger side is an exploration in the art of reinterpretation. Taylor’s covers of tracks by J.J. Cale, Elephant Micah and David Wiffen demonstrate his complete love and respect for the originals while casting each in his unique light and voice.

Chapman’s masterful contribution bears the weight and heft that this legendary performer has gained through decades of experience. Be it narrative-driven compositions such as “Another Story” (known only to some listeners from Kurt Vile and Meg Baird’s collaborative cover from Matador’s 2012 “Singles Going Home Alone” collection) or intricate guitar excursions such as the closing “Stockport Monday (Homage Tom Rush),” Chapman’s side is a master class in both song craft and execution.

a couple of years in the making, this LP was a part of a collection that represents a celebration of this label’s improbable fifteenth anniversary. it seemed appropriate to assemble an equally improbable project to celebrate the milestone.


Three Lobed Recordings is a boutique record label that specializes in small print-run releases that cover all flavors of psychedelia. The label was started in 2000 and is largely operated by cats.

Hiss Golden Messenger announces new album, Hallelujah Anyhow, out this September

Hallelujah Anyhow is the latest studio album from Hiss Golden Messenger, due out September 22nd worldwide on Merge Records. Its ten new songs, penned by HGM principal M.C. Taylor, were recorded with Brad Cook, Phil Cook, Chris Boerner, Josh Kaufman, Darren Jessee, Michael Lewis, and Scott Hirsch. Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, Tift Merritt, Skylar Gudasz, Tamisha Waden, Mac McCaughan, and John Paul White provided vocal harmonies.  All pre-orders in the Merge Records store will receive a signed poster, while supplies last.Hiss Golden Messenger have announced a fall headlining tour following summer festivals and three shows supporting Mumford & Sons.

He has commented,  I’m from nowhere. That’s the way I feel about it now, right at this moment. Music took me and made me and gave me a purpose and I built my world with it, and now my geography is a musical one, forever. And when I break, when I think about running as far as I can, I remember that there is nothing that does me like music, and I might as well be a poor man in a world of my own devising. Hallelujah Anyhow.Rhythm? I learned it over twenty years in the back of rented vans, in attics and back rooms—hard places to get to, harder places to get out of. And now rhythm is my clock and I live by it. We all do. But it’ll kill you if you’re not careful. It might kill you even if you are. Hallelujah anyhow.

I see the dark clouds. I was designed to see them. They’re the same clouds of fear and destruction that have darkened the world since Revelations, just different actors. But this music is for hope. That’s the only thing I want to say about it. Love is the only way out. I’ve never been afraid of the darkness; it’s just a different kind of light. And if some days that belief comes harder than others, hallelujah anyhow.

M.C. Taylor, July 2017