Hiss Golden Messenger (Merge)

Intimate and comfortable may be the best way to describe the music M.C. Taylor makes with Hiss Golden Messenger. Even when challenging you musically and lyrically, the songs make you feel like you’ve known them along, while Hiss creates the aura of sitting around the living room listening to good friends. That intimacy is on full display on Hiss Golden Messenger’s new release, Quietly Blowing It, an album that found Taylor writing and arranging all the songs in his home studio, a luxury afforded him only because of the pandemic.


“Writing became a daily routine and that was a ballast for me,” says Taylor. “Having spent so much time on the road over the past ten years, where writing consistently with any kind of flow can be tricky, it felt refreshing. And being in my studio, which is both isolated from and totally connected to the life of my family, felt appropriate for these songs.” The result is a collection of 11 songs – culled down from about two dozen that Taylor demoed alone in his studio – that seem to address all the issues that were facing the world last Spring when Quietly Blowing It was being created, although Taylor protests that it’s really “more of a retrospective of the past five years of my life, painted in impressionistic hues,” laying the foundation for the intimacy of the record. An intimacy that was enhanced by Taylor bringing the Hiss band together in Durham, NC to record the final 11 tracks over a week in July.


“We all needed to be making that music together,” Taylor explains. “It felt cathartic to be recording those particular songs with each other in our own small hometown.” The collaboration has Hiss going on a diverse journey through Soul, Country, jam-infused Blues and more, while bringing a sense of hope to songs about personal struggle, economic inequality, and isolation.


Quietly Blowing It is making a lot of noise on the JBE panel, with over 60 stations spinning the first single, “Sanctuary,” including WXRT, WFUV, KBCO, WXPN, WRLT, KCMP, WXRV, WYEP, KRVB and WAPS.

Photo by Chris Frisina