JPR Live Session: Hiss Golden Messenger

Dec 1, 2017

Hiss Golden Messenger is Durham, North Carolina-based songwriter M.C. Taylor. Since 2009, Taylor and in collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Scott Hirsh, longtime drummer Terry Lonergan, Nashville guitarist William Tyler, and members of Megafaun, the Black Twig Pickers, Pelt, D. Charles Speer & the Helix, Brightblack and Morning Light have released a string of universally acclaimed albums as Hiss Golden Messenger.

Drawing from the deep well of traditional and vernacular Southern song that Taylor has explored and documented as a practicing folklorist, as well as the more alchemical strains of 1970’s country-rock, dub music, and kosmische music, “like Van Morrison circa Astral Weeks, Hiss Golden Messenger confounds traditional-music genre expectations” (according to The Huffington Post.) Distinguished by their fascinatingly ambiguous conjuring of spiritual–and often specifically Biblical–concerns and characters, as well as a taut lyricism informed by writers as disparate as Ronnie Lane, Lew Welch, and Wendell Berry, Taylor’s unabashedly ardent songs rank among the most exquisitely crafted and eloquent of his generation.

"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."