Describing the Durham-based Hiss Golden Messenger is like trying to grasp a forgotten word: It’s always on the tip of your tongue, but hard to speak. Songwriter and bandleader M.C. Taylor’s music is at once familiar, yet impossible to categorize: Elements from the American songbook—the steady, churning acoustic guitar and mandolin, the gospel emotion, the eerie steel guitar tracings, the bobbing and weaving organ and electric piano—provide the bedrock for Taylor’s existential ruminations about parenthood, joy, hope, and loneliness—our delicate, tightrope balance of dark and light—that offer fully engaged contemporary commentary on the present. And then there’s an indescribable spirit and movement: Hiss Golden Messenger’s music grooves. There’s nothing else quite like it.
For over ten years, Taylor has spearheaded this prolific, perpetually evolving group. He’s toured and recorded relentlessly, earning devotees along the roads, deep in festival pits, and across the seas, delivering earnest performances that morph from jammy freakout to private prayer in a matter of measures.
Lilly Hiatt is a Nashville, Tennessee-based singer-songwriter. She is the daughter of singer-songwriter John Hiatt. In 2017, Hiatt released her third album, Trinity Lane, produced by Michael Trent of Shovels & Rope featuring Cary Ann Hearst on the track “Everything I Had.” Hiatt has toured with artists such as Aaron Lee Tasjan, John Moreland, Drive-by Truckers, Margo Price, and John Prine.