Hiss Golden Messenger front man MC Taylor told me that what he learned from his time as a folklorist is “that … there are magical things happening everywhere all around us … and people create beautiful intentional communities and cultural movements around the smallest things that … maybe a lot of other people would never understand as something important enough to pay attention to, but that's what makes community so beautiful. There are many different types of community.” It is this awareness of and love for what many people might overlook that helps make Hiss Golden Messenger’s music special, at turns even profound. This attention to detail is just one of many aspects of MC Taylor’s personality, talent and spirit that grounds and propels his music.
I spoke with MC Taylor and band mate Phil Cook about the making of the new Hiss Golden Messenger album, Terms Of Surrender, about how they have embraced and come to represent Southern music and culture, how asking what someone had for breakfast can be the best way to begin an interview, and much more. Of course, there is also a lot of music, both from Hiss Golden Messenger (including two live performances) and from Phil Cook’s latest solo release.
Songs heard in this episode:
“My Wing” by Hiss Golden Messenger (excerpt, from Terms Of Surrender)
“Happy Birthday Baby"” by Hiss Golden Messenger (excerpt, from Terms Of Surrender)
“Hungry Mother Blues (Live At The Cave)” by Phil Cook from As Far As I Can See
“Cat’s Eye Blue” (live 8-24-19) by Hiss Golden Messenger
“Southern Grammar” (live 8-22-19) by Hiss Golden Messenger
Thanks to Hiss Golden Messenger tour manager Luc Suèr for his invaluable help in coordinating my interview with MC Taylor and for sending the band’s live songs heard in this episode!
Southern Songs and Stories is produced in partnership with public radio station WNCW and the Osiris podcast network, and is available on podcast platforms everywhere. New episodes air biweekly on Bluegrass Planet Radio as well. Would you help spread awareness of the artists featured here on Southern Songs and Stories, their music, and this series? Simply subscribe to the podcast and give it a good rating and a comment where you get your podcasts. You can find us on Apple/iTunes here, on Stitcher here, and Spotify here, for example. This is Southern Songs and Stories: the music of the South and the artists who make it. - Joe Kendrick