Hiss Golden Messenger

Hiss Golden Messenger

Hiss Golden Messenger is Durham, North Carolina-based songwriter M.C. Taylor and multi-instrumentalist and recordist Scott Hirsch, who lives in Brooklyn, New York. The pair has been making music together for twenty years in various incarnations, including six records with the San Francisco band the Court and Spark.

Since 2009, Taylor and Hirsch—in collaboration with longtime drummer Terry Lonergan, Nashville guitarist William Tyler, and members of Megafaun, the Black Twig Pickers, Pelt, D. Charles Speer & the Helix, Brightblack Morning Light—have released a string of universally acclaimed albums as Hiss Golden Messenger:Country Hai East Cotton (2009), Root Work(2010), Bad Debt (2010, soon to be reissued by Paradise of Bachelors), Poor Moon (PoB-02, 2011), Hiss Golden Messenger Plays Elephant Micah Plays Hiss Golden Messenger (PoB-04, 2012) and Lord I Love the Rain (2012).
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 and Lew Welch, Taylor's unabashedly ardent songs rank among the most exquisitely crafted and eloquent of his generation.
Their 2011 LP Poor Moon (PoB-02) has been hailed as a masterful and moving country-soul statement on faith and family by Pitchfork, Uncut, Salon, and many others, leading to profiles of Taylor by NPR, The Oxford American, and Interview Magazine. In April of 2013 Paradise of Bachelors released HGM's eagerly anticipated full-length follow up to Poor Moon, the remarkable Haw (PoB-06).

Nathan Salsburg

Nathan Salsburg was born in that Diamond City, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania—she of anthracite glimmer and Babe Ruth's 1926 long ball—and is a longtime resident of Louisville, Kentucky. He is the curator of the Alan Lomax Archive and a producer and presenter of traditional music for a variety of outlets. His first solo record is called Affirmed, and it's about race horses—Affirmed, Bold Ruler, and Eight Belles, specifically—and desire and reckonings of the spirit. It's an almost entirely instrumental affair, save his elegiac rendering of the traditional tune "The False True Love."

While comparisons to John Fahey may be inevitable—and there are worse curses, to be sure—the similarity that Salsburg bears to that great master is mostly one of maverick aesthetic. For where Fahey spent his career a hungry ghost in some supernal Valley of Tears—in the process paving the way for a million joyless ragas by pickers that learned the wrong lesson—Salsburg's brambly rags and sundowner hymns incorporate an arch, bittersweet harmony that marks the best work of guitarists like Reverend Gary Davis, Ry Cooder, and Nic Jones. He plays like he knows that happiness is made of sad, and every tragedy is kind of funny, in its way.

—M.C. Taylor, Durham, NC, 21 Aug 2011

Promised Land Sound

Promised Land Sound, Nashville’s finest purveyors of febrile root-work psychedelia, chose to begin at the beginning; they named themselves after an immortal road-dogging Chuck Berry jam and proceeded from there. For such a young band—though they’re now all in their twenties, some weren’t even of legal drinking age when they released their debut—they’re remarkably attuned to historical precedents. The self-titled first album mined the same red dirt/swamp boogie as the Flying Burritos, Gene Clark, Jesse Ed Davis, Link Wray, the Band, CCR, Dennis Linde, Johnny Darrell, the Stones, et al. But For Use and Delight is the album on which Promised Land Sound finds their distinctive idiom, the distilled articulation of their mutable live performances, during which songs expand and contract, guitars flicker, flame, and gutter, and the rhythm section achieves a full-throttle locomotive choogle that locates the common/contested ground between J.J. Cale and Can.

Promised Land Sound emerged from the fertile Nashville garage scene—members have played with PUJOL, Denney and the Jets, and members of JEFF The Brotherhood and Those Darlins, among others—but they have quickly evolved to deploy a more varied country, soul, pop, and psych palette than most of their brethren and sistren. Bassist and singer Joey Scala and his younger brother Evan (drums and vocals) originally hail from Roanoke, Virginia but moved to Tennessee in 2000. Joey spent some time hitchhiking around after high school, eventually meeting Nashville lifer and guitar prodigy Sean Thompson and playing in a succession of local bands together before beginning to write in earnest as a team. In short order, they managed to attract the admiration of esteemed folks like fellow Nashvillain Jack White, who released a live 7” of theirs on his Third Man Records. The current lineup also prominently features invaluable Nashville stalwarts Peter Stringer-Hye (The Paperhead) on additional vocals and rhythm guitar and polymath Mitch Jones (Fly Golden Eagle) on keyboards, as well as handling co-production and string arrangements on the record.

In 2013 Paradise of Bachelors released Promised Land Sound’s first full-length album, co-produced by Jem Cohen (the Ettes and the Parting Gifts), Andrija Tokic (known for his work with Alabama Shakes), and Nashville guitar wizard (and Hiss Golden Messenger band member) William Tyler, who also guests on the record. In 2014 and 2015, the band toured with Angel Olsen and Alabama Shakes, among others.



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