Preview Hallelujah Anyhow by Hiss Golden Messenger.
Hallelujah Anyhow by Hiss Golden Messenger
M.C. Taylor of Hiss The Golden Messenger has a fascinating past of learning his trade in various outfits, moving around the USA, dropping out and studying, becoming immersed in fatherhood and now building a growing reputation amongst Americana cognoscenti with his intelligent lyrics and laid back singer songwriter/rock which nods to Van Morrison, Bob Dylan and some early 70's Rolling Stones. Hallelujah Anyhow is his latest release and is a beautifully played collection of styles that sit comfortably within the genre... and previous decades.
Mike Taylor, as he's known to his friends, introduces his latest work and its lyrical themes by saying - "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."
There are 10 self composed tracks and our first stop would be "Jenny of the Roses". This is amongst the faster paced tracks on the record and the piano takes the melody whilst the band follows. "Harder Rain" seems to have started life in Belfast with Van the Man. A sympathetic arrangement with horns, prominent electric piano and female backing supports a cracking melody.
"John the Gun" starts lightly with an acoustic guitar before an electric guitar picks up the song. This track, like others, demonstrates the quality of all the arrangements. He regularly uses saxophone, harmonica, horns but somehow they are all back in the mix to create a sound and vibe that is really from an early and more tasteful time - you'll pick up more of this on repeated listenings. "Domino (Time Will Tell) is maybe not as cluttered as a Stones arrangement but the piano and drums are from either Sticky Fingers or Exile On Main Street. No one will complain!
"When The Wall Come Down" is the highlight for me and electric guitars weave around a memorable chorus whilst Taylor separates the vocal in the mix so that it croons over a simple arrangement and a snare drum:
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
Hiss The Messenger has recently been on the road and continues through the Fall occasionally supporting Mumford & Sons. He should receive a warm and appreciative hearing. You may enjoy this too.