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HISS GOLDEN MESSENGER

Hiss Golden Messenger

O Come All Ye Faithful

    Conceptualized and written during the chaotic fall months of 2020, Hiss Golden Messenger’s O Come All Ye Faithful recorded shortly after the widely hailed Quietly Blowing It is a meditation on grace, loss, hope, and community. Explains songwriter M.C. Taylor, “Big, brash holiday music the type that we hear in big box stores in the middle of December has never resonated with me, and this past year it felt absolutely dissonant. I wanted to make a seasonal record that felt more in step with the way that I, and so many others, experience this time of year: quiet, contemplative, searching, and bittersweet.”

    Contributors to O Come All Ye Faithful include many members of Hiss Golden Messenger’s extended family, as well as special guests like GRAMMY Award winner Aoife O’Donovan, Nathaniel Rateliff, Erin Rae, and Buddy Miller. The tracklist includes new tunes written by Taylor, classic hymns, and renditions of songs by Spiritualized, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Woody Guthrie, all arranged in the inimitable Hiss Golden Messenger style. Adorned with a beautifully spare design created by celebrated artist Cody Hudson. The deluxe vinyl version of O Come All Ye Faithful includes an additional collection of remixes by Revelators, Taylor’s spiritual jazz and dub-influenced project with Cameron Ralston.

    TRACK LISTING

    SIDE A

    1 Hung Fire
    2 O Come All Ye Faithful
    3 Grace
    4 By The Lights Of St. Stephen
    5 Shine A Light

    SIDE B

    6 Joy To The World
    7 Silent Night
    8 Hanukkah Dance
    9 As Long As I Can See The Light 

    Peak Vinyl Bonus LP :

    The Sounding Joy: Hiss Golden Messenger Meets Revelators On South Robinson Street: LP

    SIDE C

    1 Shine
    2 Light
    3 Sounding Joy Dub

    SIDE D

    4 Grace Version
    5 King Of Angels Dub
    6 Silent

    Hiss Golden Messenger

    His Golden Messenger Meets Spacebomb

      First time at Cargo for this single. In early 2018, Hiss Golden Messenger approached Spacebomb to record a track. Cameron Ralston – Spacebomb’s in-house bass player – lead the charge as Producer. The goal was nothing more than to spend time together and make something cool, and that’s exactly what happened. The resulting track, “Passing Clouds,” accompanied by a dub remix of the same song, is Hiss Golden Messenger Meets Spacebomb.

      Hiss Golden Messenger

      Quietly Blowing It

        “I went looking for peace,” says songwriter M.C. Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger about his new album Quietly Blowing It. “It’s not exactly a record about the state of the world—or my world—in 2020, but more a retrospective of the past five years of my life, painted in sort of impressionistic hues. Maybe I had the presence of mind when I was writing Quietly Blowing It to know that this was the time to go as deep as I needed to in order to make a record like this. And I got the time required in order to do that.” He pauses and laughs ruefully. “I got way more time than I needed, actually.”

        Quietly Blowing It was written and arranged by Taylor in his home studio—his 8’ × 10’ sanctuary packed floor to ceiling with books, records, and old guitars—as he watched the chaotic world spin outside his window. “Writing became a daily routine,” he explains, “and that was a ballast for me. Having spent so much time on the road over the past ten years, where writing consistently with any kind of flow can be tricky, it felt refreshing. And being in my studio, which is both isolated from and totally connected to the life of my family, felt appropriate for these songs.” Between March and June, Taylor wrote and recorded upwards of two dozen songs—in most cases playing all of the instruments himself—before winnowing the collection down and bringing them to the Hiss band. In July, the group of musicians, with Taylor in the production seat, went into Overdub Lane in Durham, NC, for a week, where they recorded Quietly Blowing It as an organic unit honed to a fine edge from their years together on the road. “We all needed to be making that music together,” he recalls. “We’ve all spent so many years traveling all over the world, but in that moment, it felt cathartic to be recording those particular songs with each other in our own small hometown.”

        Throughout Quietly Blowing It, Taylor brings his keen eye to our “broken American moment”—as he first sang on Hiss Golden Messenger’s critically acclaimed, GRAMMY®-nominated Terms of Surrender—in ways that feel devastatingly intimate and human. Beginning with the wanderer’s lament of “Way Back in the Way Back,” with its rallying cry of “Up with the mountains, down with the system,” Taylor carries the listener on a musical journey that continually returns to themes of growing up, loss, obligation, and labor with piercing clarity, and his musical influences—including classic Southern soul and gospel, renegade country, and spiritual jazz—have never felt more genuine. Indeed, Quietly Blowing It is a distillation of the rolling Hiss Golden Messenger groove, from the rollicking, Allman-esque “The Great Mystifier” to the chiming falsetto soul of “It Will If We Let It,” to the smoky, shuffling title track with its bittersweet guitar assist from Nashville legend Buddy Miller. The album ends with soulful lead single “Sanctuary,” a song about trying to reconcile tragedy and joy, with references to John Prine (“Handsome Johnny had to go, child…”), economic disparity, and the redemptive quality of hope. Indeed, when he sings, “Feeling bad, feeling blue, can’t get out of my own mind; but I know how to sing about it,” it feels like the album’s spiritual thesis. Throughout Quietly Blowing It, Taylor reckons with the tumultuous present in wholly personal terms, encouraging listeners to do the same. “These songs always circle back to the things that I feel like I have a handle on and the things that I’m not proud of about myself. When I think of the phrase ‘quietly blowing it,’ I think of all the ways that I’ve misstepped, misused my gifts, miscommunicated. ‘Born on the level, quietly blowing it.’ That’s what’s on my mind there. Always fuckin’ up in little ways.”

        Surrounding himself with a trusted cast of collaborators that includes Miller, songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov, songwriter and Tony Award–winning playwright Anaïs Mitchell, multi-instrumentalist Josh Kaufman, Dawes’ brothers Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith, and his oldest musical confidant Scott Hirsch, Taylor has made his most audacious and hopeful work yet with Quietly Blowing It; it’s an album that speaks personal truth to this moment in which the old models of being feel broken and everything feels at stake. “I don’t know that the peace that I crave when I’m far from home exists, actually,” says Taylor. “It’s more complicated. I still don’t know what peace means for me, because I can be sitting on the couch watching a movie with my family and be completely tangled up in my head. But if I keep on doing my own personal work on myself—writing records like Quietly Blowing It—I have to think that I’m getting closer.”

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: Hiss Golden Messenger has a long and varied career crafting endlessly beautiful lamentations on life and love, and this newest outing brims with the skill of a man at ease with his own writing style. Gorgeous progressions and swooning dusty country-indie passages are offset with Taylor's unmistakeable vocals. Really beautiful stuff.

        TRACK LISTING

        Side A
        1 Way Back In The Way Back
        2 The Great Mystifier
        3 Mighty Dollar
        4 Quietly Blowing It
        5 It Will If We Let It
        Side B
        6 Hardlytown
        7 If It Comes In The Morning
        8 Glory Strums (Loneliness Of The Long-Distance Runner)
        9 Painting Houses
        10 Angels In The Headlights
        11 Sanctuary

        Live At Leeds CD (Dinked Exclusive)
        There’s A New Day Coming
        Jaw
        Call Him Daylight
        Red Rose Nantahala
        My Wing
        Terms Of Surrender
        Blue Country Mystic
        Highland Grace
        Beat The Retreat
        Harder Rain

        Hiss Golden Messenger

        Terms Of Surrender

          Describing the Durham based Hiss Golden Messenger is like trying to grasp a forgotten word: It’s always on the tip of your tongue, but hard to speak. Songwriter and bandleader M.C. Taylor’s music is at once familiar, yet impossible to categorize: Elements from the American songbook the steady, churning acoustic guitar and mandolin, the gospel emotion, the eerie steel guitar tracings, the bobbing and weaving organ and electric piano provide the bedrock for Taylor’s existential ruminations about parenthood, joy, hope, and loneliness. And then there’s an indescribable spirit and movement: Hiss Golden Messenger’s music grooves. There’s nothing else quite like it. For over ten years, Taylor has spearheaded this prolific, perpetually evolving group. He’s toured and recorded relentlessly, earning devotees along the roads, deep in festival pits, and across the seas.

          “The work that I do requires me to be in a certain emotional place,” says Taylor. “My music depends first and foremost on being in a heightened emotional state and putting my vulnerability on display.” This vulnerability is also central to Taylor’s steadily growing fanbase, which continues to discover universal themes in his deeply personal work. The critical acclaim and attention for Hiss Golden Messenger and barn-burning performances on Late Show with David Letterman and Late Night with Seth Meyers affirm the emotional power of Taylor’s work.

          This raw emotion is especially apparent on Hiss Golden Messenger’s new album, Terms of Surrender. Terms follows Taylor’s journey through a tumultuous year of trauma and psychological darkness, hoping and working towards redemption and healing, and the conflicting draw of home and movement. “Another year older,” Taylor sings on album opener “I Need a Teacher.” “Debt slightly deeper. Paycheck smaller. Goddamn, I need a teacher.”

          Later, Taylor tracks the complex dynamic between father and grown son on “Cat’s Eye Blue,” singing, “Is this wicked word too bad to be spoken? You let the heart attack in. One taste and it’s broken.” He later pivots towards his relationship with his own daughter on “Happy Birthday, Baby.”

          Taylor says that he wanted to make Terms of Surrender “a wandering record. I wanted where we recorded it to mirror the searching spirit of the music.” Having written upwards of 40 songs in motel rooms, his studio in Durham, and a secluded cottage outside of Charlottesville, Virginia, 10 songs were chosen. Includes regular collaborators Phil and Brad Cook, Josh Kaufman, and Matt McCaughan and new friends like Jenny Lewis and Aaron Dessner (of The National).

          Hiss Golden Messenger songs create feelings to which devoted listeners attach their own meanings and memories with each repeated spin. Throughout Terms of Surrender, those feelings range from fearful to celebratory. But perhaps the title track with its refrain of “I’m gonna give it/ but don’t make me say it/ It’s one thing to bend it, my love, but another to break it” best summarizes the nature of Taylor’s work as a musician, father and spouse, and cultural communicator on this album.

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Barry says: I was just having a discussion with Dave about how i'm obviously getting a little bit older, and my tastes are changing, veering more towards slightly miserable Americana ballads, but my appreciation for HGM has remained throughout regardless of my advancing years. It's a testament to his skill as a songwriter that he can continue to smash out such beautiful LP's without veering too far from the formula, but keeping things as transportive and dreamy as they are on 'Terms Of Surrender'.

          TRACK LISTING

          1 I Need A Teacher
          2 Bright Direction (You’re A Dark Star Now)
          3 My Wing
          4 Old Enough To Wonder Why (East Side West Side)
          5 Cat’s Eye Blue
          6 Happy Birthday, Baby
          7 Down At The Uptown
          8 Katy (You Don’t Have To Be Good Yet)
          9 Whip
          10 Terms Of Surrender

          Hiss Golden Messenger & Michael Chapman

          Paralellelogram A La Carte

            In late 2015 Three Lobed Recordings was proud to release the Parallelogram, a collection of five carefully assembled split albums celebrating complementary musical pairings.

            These lavishly presented paired LPs included numerous luminaries of the underground and alternative scenes. Previously only sold as a full five LP collection, Three Lobed is releasing very limited quantities of these five LP at this time in a standalone fashion.

            TRACK LISTING

            I Wish I Had Not Said That
            Still Life Blues
            Smoke Rings
            Another Story
            The Mallard
            Vanity And Pride
            Stockport Monday(homage Tom Rush)

            The writing of the songs that became Heart Like a Levee started in a hotel room in Washington DC in January of 2015 during a powerful storm that darkened the East Coast. At that time I was feeling - more acutely than I had ever felt before - wrenched apart by my responsibilities to my family and to my music. Forgetting, momentarily, that for me, each exists only with the other. How could I forget? Though maybe my lapse was reasonable: I had just quit my job, the most recent and last, in a series of dead-end gigs stretching back 20 years, with the vow that my children would understand their father as a man in love with his world and the inventor of his own days. They would be rare in that regard. And then - driven by monthly bills and pure fear - I left for another tour, carrying a load of guilt that I could just barely lift. But in that snowy hotel room I found the refrain that became my compass: I was a dreamer, babe, when I set out on the road; but did I say I could find my way home? M.C. Taylor.

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Barry says: Optimism clearly doesn't come too easily to M.C Taylor, but you might just be mistaken for thinking that he's made his peace with the world from this shining and cautiously cheery suite of lovelorn sonnets. Perfectly produced and heartfelt country-tinged acoustic odes, and minor-key stripped back melodies. Stunning.

            TRACK LISTING

            Biloxi
            Tell Her I’m Just Dancing
            Heart Like A Levee
            Like A Mirror Loves A Hammer
            Smoky’s Song
            Cracked Windshield
            As The Crow Flies
            Happy Day (Sister My Sister)
            Say It Like You Mean It
            Ace Of Cups
            Highland Grace

            Vestapol (Deluxe Bonus):
            SIDE A
            Blackeyed Boy
            After The Colors
            Together’s Just A Word
            Living Above The Waterline
            Strawberry Girl Reel
            SIDE B
            Little Rain
            John The Gun
            Vestapol (Is Where I’m Bound)


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