Hiss Golden Messenger is the folk project of Durham, North Carolina-based singer/songwriter M.C. Taylor and his longtime collaborator Scott Hirsch. In 2013, the band released the excellent but overlooked album Haw, and this year they have already issued a “lost” collection of songs dubbed Bad Debt. Now, they return with a new track via their new label home, Merge Records.
Entitled “Brother, Do You Know the Road?”, the song takes on Haw’s formula of managing to make beautiful, traditional-sounding folk songs without being the least bit derivative or stagy. On the track, Taylor’s grainy drawl starts a bluesy call-and-response, Phil Cook’s organs seep into the twangy instrumentation, and slide guitars weep to create a spectacular Americana atmosphere.
In the press materials, Taylor said this of “Brother, Do You Know the Road?”:
“Brother, Do You Know the Road?” was written quickly and recorded in one take in a house belonging to Joyce and Joel Martin in Oxford, NC. It was green early summer. Lots of insects humming in the mics. There is a refrain in this song that is important to me: “And though the storm’s passed over / And the sun is in its place / Oh, it took a long time / And the rain, how I know it.” This song has always been something of an orphan; it’s never found its way onto any full-length HGM album, although it frequently gets played at full-band performances. I like this song a lot.
Personnel on this recording are myself, Scott Hirsch (who also recorded and mixed the song), Terry Lonergan, Phil Cook, and Brad Cook.
Listen in below (via Uncut).
While this song will not appear on Hiss Golden Messenger’s forthcoming album, there will be details about their Merge debut arriving sometime soon. Meanwhile, the band will tour the U.K. before coming back to the states for some festival appearances. Dates are below.
Hiss Golden Messenger 2014 Tour Dates:
05/15 – Dublin, IE @ Whelan’s
05/16 – Glasgow, UK @ Nice N Sleazy
05/17 – Hyde Park, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
05/18 – Manchester, UK @ Soup Kitchen
05/19 – London, UK @ The Borderline
05/20 – Falmouth. UK @ Beerwolf Books
05/22 – Esch Sur Alzette, LU @ Rockhal Café
05/23 – Leuven, BE @ Stuk
05/24 – Utrecht, NL @ Le Guess Who? May Day
05/30 – Blackstock, SC @ Blackstock Music Festival *
06/01 – Nelsonville, OH @ Nelsonville Music Festival *
07/09-13 – Winnipeg, MB @ Winnipeg Folk Festival *
07/14 – Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso *
07/18 – Suffolk, UK @ Latitude Festival *
07/20 – North Devon, UK @ Somersault Festival *
* = w/ full band