Hallelujah Anyhow is the latest studio album from Hiss Golden Messenger, out September 22 worldwide on Merge Records. Its ten new songs, penned by HGM principal M.C. Taylor, were recorded with Brad Cook, Phil Cook, Chris Boerner, Josh Kaufman, Darren Jessee, Michael Lewis, and Scott Hirsch. Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, Tift Merritt, Skylar Gudasz, Tamisha Waden, Mac McCaughan, and John Paul White provided vocal harmonies.
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.
I see the dark clouds. I was designed to see them. They're the same clouds of fear and destruction that have darkened the world since Revelations, just different actors. But this music is for hope. That's the only thing I want to say about it. Love is the only way out. I've never been afraid of the darkness; it's just a different kind of light. And if some days that belief comes harder than others, hallelujah anyhow.
Whatcha gonna do when the wall comes down?
When the wall comes down?
What you ought to do is let it lie -let it lie
And in the gathering darkness vow to never go back
It was built by man and you can tear it down
Tear it down, tear it down
Step back, Jack, from the darkness
I've seen darker things than night. Hallelujah anyhow.
A vehicle for singer/songwriter Michael Taylor (M.C. Taylor) and multi-instrumentalist and recording engineer Scott Hirsch, Hiss Golden Messenger's fusion of classic rock, folk-pop, and sparse rural blues began with the albums Country Hai East Cotton and Root Work. They signed to Black Maps, where they released their international debut, the acoustic mini-album Bad Debt, in 2010. It was followed by Poor Moon and Haw on two different labels before signing to Merge for 2014's Lateness of Dancers. Taylor produced folksinger-songwriter Alice Gerard's comeback album Follow The Spirit the same year. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi
Hiss Golden Messenger is Durham, North Carolina-based songwriter M.C. Taylor, in partnership with multi-instrumentalist and recordist Scott Hirsch, who lives in Brooklyn, New York. The pair have been playing music together for nearly two decades. Poor Moon is the fourth proper Hiss Golden Messenger release, and serves as the best summation thus far of Taylor’s lone journeys through the dark night of the soul. “God is good, and it’s understood,” he sings. “But he moves in mysterious ways.”
Taylor and Hirsch are clear that they draw inspiration from a variety of sources, including the blue-collar mysticism of Ronnie Lane and Richard & Linda Thompson; the high haunted atmospheres of John Martyn and Talk Talk; and American vernacular music writ large (from Archie Brownlee to the Staple Singers; Charlie Poole to Merle Haggard). Yet for all that, Poor Moon is a singular vision, one that only two companions could have made after twenty years of music-making, revelry, and repent.