Hiss Golden Messenger Photo by Andy Tenille


Hiss Golden Messenger

Nov. 5
8 p.m.
Americana, Rock, Singer-Songwriter

Hiss Golden Messenger is anchored by North Carolina singer-songwriter MC Taylor. His sixth HGM album, last month’s Heart Like a Levee, is a rich, bittersweet meditation on the conflicting natures of love, ambition, and responsibility set to a grand pastiche of Southern music. Although Taylor has long worked in supple forms of country-folk, gospel, rootsy rock, and bluegrass, Levee shifts toward Muscle Shoals and Memphis. Electric piano, organ, and chortling saxophones now conspire with banjo, Dobro, and pedal steel, mostly wielded by members of the Bon Iver/Megafaun extended clan, while Tift Merritt leads chirpy, gospelly harmonies. The levee of the title track seems to hold back fears and tears, as Taylor grapples with competing demands of family and career, fighting uncertainty (“Do you hate me, honey/As much as I hate myself”) amid resilient mountain picking. On “Like a Mirror Loves a Hammer” his pinched falsetto flirts with harrowing diffidence over a wickedly spooky Memphis groove. On the languid finale, “Highland Grace,” Taylor finds some while echoing Van Morrison’s soulful Tupelo reveries. Merritt will open and play with HGM.