“I come from the bottom of the river Haw,” sings M. C. Taylor in “Sweet as John Hurt.” Taylor was once of the hardcore punk band Ex-Ignota, later did time with SF’s twangy Court and Spark and now is comfortably ensconced in North Carolina’s alternative folk/country/blues environs, inviting locals like William Tyler, Phil Johnson from Megafaun, Nathan Bowles of the Black Twig Pickers and at least one member of the Bowerbirds in for this second full-length as Hiss Golden Messenger. Taylor and his long-time musical collaborator Scott Hirsch (also of Ex-Ignota, also of Court and Spark) have settled into a low-key but muscular country groove, spinning out shimmering mirages of wah-wahed overtones, blues-bent meditations on god and man, and light-footed country rambles.
Hiss Golden Messenger’s first album Poor Moon came out originally in November 2011 on the Paradise of Bachelors label in a limited run and was later picked up and reissued by Tompkins Square. The connection with Tompkins led to a spot on the Oh Michael! Chapman covers album. Hiss Golden Messenger’s “Fennario” was one of the few on the disc to capture Chapman’s rough masculine energy, the ragged wear and tear that makes his lines so memorable. Haw is, likewise, bristly, indelicate, often beautiful but never precious. It bursts with life.