Hiss Golden Messenger

photo by Graham Tolbert

Hiss Golden Messenger, the prolific band led by M.C. Taylor, is back with their seventh album. Merge Records will be releasing Terms Of Surrender on 9/20. Hiss has long been a favorite of mine. I find the music so easy to connect with on a spiritual level. Here’s some more info via the PR machine.

The album’s ten songs touch on a myriad of emotions, inner conflict, and questions. Starting with opening track “I Need a Teacher,” the narrator longs for guidance to help navigate life’s endless challenges. The video for the song was shot during the statewide North Carolina Association of Educators’ Day of Action demonstration and features a glance into the eyes and faces of real teachers, children, and families that illustrate the humanity and what is at stake for our future.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Hiss Golden Messenger is here


Phil Cook is one of my favorite musicians. I know his guitar playing as well as any player out there today. His solo debut, Southland Mission was a revelation and one of my favorites of 2015. This is sure to be every bit as good. Here’s some more on the album from Phil.

People Are My Drug is a radical album, in every sense of the word. In 2018 choosing community and positivity and music is radical. Cook’s smile is still as infectious and ernest as it’s ever been. However, he presently appears charged with a newly-minted seriousness that is revealed to listeners in solidarity, that he too is fighting like hell to keep love alive.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Phil Cook is here



Photo: Elise Tyler

One of the chief reasons I’ve always enjoyed the music of Hiss Golden Messenger is that I find it so spiritual. Not in the bullshit fake manor of a Joel Osteen. But in a much deeper and personal manner. A fact confirmed in a recent tweet he sent out.

MC Taylor leads his cracker-jack band and guest vocalists on 10 tracks of soulful Americana that somehow mixes despair with hope, a theme expressed in opener; Jenny Of The Roses – “I’ve never been afraid of darkness, it’s just a different kind of light.” A few tracks later on Harder Rain, the horns walks a razor’s edge between rapturous and mournful; something found in Van Morrison’s best tracks.

On the ‘B’ side Gulfport You’ve Been On Mind, has a Jerry Garcia Band vibe; when we would his band on an R&B soul revue. Domino (Time Will Tell) is a swinging jam, with Phil Cook really shining on this track. And Taylor closes the album with When The Wall Comes Down, a tune that xxxx you to persist in these times.

In a recent podcast, Steven Hyden commented that Pure Comedy might be the perfect album for 2017. It is an album that really picks at the scab at the current state of this country. If that is the case, then Hallelujah Anyhow is the perfect balm to get you through the day.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Hiss Golden Messenger is here



I don’t know what else I can say about the music of MC Taylor. He keeps cranking out albums and I keep saying that I love his new music. Based on the first two tracks of his upcoming release on Merge; we’re bound to repeat the process.

“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.” —M.C. Taylor

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Hiss Golden Messenger is here


Phil Cook releases instrumental album, Old Hwy D

October 21, 2016

You’d be hard-pressed to find a site that loves Phil Cook’s music more than HearYa. His work w/ Megafaun? Loved it. Solo? Loved it. Popping on this Loamlands album? Loved it. Touring w/ Hiss Holden Messenger. Yep, you guessed it. We loved it. He’s one of my favorite guitar players around and I was lucky […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Hiss Golden Messenger – Heart Like A Levee (album review)

October 11, 2016

I rarely listen to regular radio because for the most part, it sucks*. But when I do listen to music it winds up being XRT here in Chicago. But that station has become so crappy lately as it is an adult contemporary station. They must play that X Ambassadors song or Kids by MGMT almost […]

1 comment Read the full article →

Hiss Golden Messenger announces Heart Like A Levee 10/7/16

July 13, 2016

I love the music of Hiss Golden Messenger so much it hurts. And I also love the fact that he didn’t make it overnight. I think it gives him a perspective that is lost on artist who stumble into some sort of notoriety immediately. Based on what MC Taylor writes below, it is that new-found […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Phil Cook – Southland Mission [album review]

September 9, 2015

I’ve always thought Phil Cook to be freakishly talented during his time with Megafaun. Seeing him in Hiss Golden Messenger’s touring band this year, as well as an opening set at Schuba’s hammered that belief home. So when he made mention of this debut at Schuba’s, I was all sorts of excited. And I am […]

2 comments Read the full article →

Hiss Golden Messenger – Lateness Of Dancers [album review]

September 9, 2014

When I read that Michael Taylor, the main component of Hiss Golden Messenger, had compiled William Tyler, Megafaun members Phil and Brad Cook, Mountain Man member Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, and long-time musical cohort Scott Hirsch for his Merge debut; I was literally giddy with excitement. That is a collection of pros, not making music for any […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Hiss Golden Messenger – Lateness Of Dancers (9/9/14)

June 25, 2014

I was made aware of the brilliance of Hiss Golden Messenger last year. It was like finding water after walking in the desert. I have been soaking up anything Hiss Golden Messenger since. Hiss Golden Messenger is the moniker of MC Taylor and they will be releasing their Merge Records debut on September 9th. Its […]

0 comments Read the full article →