Hiss Golden Messenger

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Hiss Golden Messenger
Hiss Golden Messenger.jpg
Hiss Golden Messenger live in 2011
Background information
OriginDurham, North Carolina, U.S.
GenresIndie folk, blues, alternative country, country rock
Years active2007 (2007)–present
LabelsParadise of Bachelors, Heaven & Earth Magic, Blackmaps, Merge, Three Lobed Recordings
MembersMC Taylor

Hiss Golden Messenger is an American folk music band, originating from Durham, North Carolina, led by MC Taylor (born September 9, 1975).[1][2]


The band was formed by Mike (MC) Taylor and Scott Hirsch in 2007.[citation needed] The band's early recordings were released through Taylor's own recording label, "Heaven & Earth Magic Recording Company."[3]

The band's debut album, Country Hai East Cotton, was released in 2009 via Taylor's label in a limited edition of 500.[4] This was followed by their international debut album, Bad Debt, in 2010, released via Black Maps.[5][6] The band's third album, Poor Moon, was released in 2012 via North Carolina-based "Paradise of Bachelors", and received positive reviews.[7][8][9] The band's fourth album, Haw, was released on April 2, 2013.[10][11][12]

Hiss Golden Messenger performing live in December, 2018.

Hiss Golden Messenger were signed to Merge in April 2014 and released their fifth album and Merge label debut, Lateness of Dancers on September 9, 2014.[13][14] They have gone on to release four additional full-length records via Merge, as well as remastered versions of Bad Debt, Poor Moon, and Haw.

Their 2019 album Terms of Surrender received a nomination for Best Americana Album at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards.[15]

In 2021 the band was inter alia part of the Newport Folk Festival in July.[16]

Musical style[edit]

The band's music contains elements from various musical genres, such as folk, country, dub, country soul, rhythm and blues, bluegrass, jazz, funk, swamp pop, gospel, blues, and rock.[7][4][11][12] The band's style was also described as "alternative country" and "country rock."[4][12][17] The band's main influences include the Beatles, The Byrds, and Buffalo Springfield.[5] The band has been compared to Will Oldham and Bill Callahan.[18]


Studio albums[edit]


  • Glad (2013, self-released)
  • Southern Grammar (2015, Merge)
  • Lagniappe Sessions - Hiss Golden Messenger (2017, Aquarium Drunkard)

Live albums[edit]

  • 042207 - Live in Big Sur (2008, Heaven & Earth Recording Company)
  • Root Work - Live WFMU 2009 (2010, Heaven & Earth Recording Company)
  • Plowed: Live in Bovina (2011, Heaven & Earth Magic Recording Company)
  • London Exodus (2013, self-released)
  • Parker's Picks Vol. 1: Live at Parish, Austin, TX 10/18/2016 (2017, self-released)
  • Forward, Children: A Fundraiser for Durham Public Schools Students (2020, self-released)
  • School Daze: A Fundraiser for Durham Public Schools Students (2020, self-released)


  • "Hiss Golden Messenger Plays Elephant Micah Plays Hiss Golden Messenger", split with Elephant Micah (2012, Paradise of Bachelors)
  • "Yankee Road"/"Shiloh Town", split with Moviola (2012, Pale Rider)
  • "Jesus Shot Me In The Head" (2012, Tompkins Square)
  • "Every Knee Shall Bow" (2013 on We Are Not For Sale: Songs of Protest by the NC Music Love Army via Redeye Distribution)
  • "Brother, Do You Know The Road?" (2014, Merge)
  • "Rock Holy" (2014, Merge from Or Thousands of Prizes, October)
  • "The Beast and Dragon, Adored" (2014, Merge cover of Spoon song from Or Thousands of Prizes Cover EP, Google Play exclusive digital single)
  • "Bad Debt" Live At Luna Records (2017, Luna Records)
  • "Standing In The Doorway" (2017, self released)
  • "Domino (Time Will Tell)" (2019, Merge) #40 US AAA[19]
  • "Hardlytown" (2021, Merge)
  • "Passing Clouds from Hiss Golden Messenger Meets Spacebomb" (2018, Spacebomb Records)
  • "Everybody Needs Somebody" b/w "Watching The Wires" (2019, Merge)
  • "I Need A Teacher" (2019, Merge) #29 US AAA[19]
  • "Hardlytown" (2021, Merge)
  • "Let The Light Of The World Open Your Eyes (Alive at Spacebomb Studios)" (2020, Spacebomb Records)
  • "Sanctuary" (2020, Merge) #12 US AAA[19]
  • "Hardlytown" (2021, Merge)
  • "Glory Strums (Loneliness Of The Long-Distance Runner)" (2021, Merge)



  1. ^ "Complicated faith: Searching for God in the songs of Hiss Golden Messenger - the Washington Post". www.washingtonpost.com. Archived from the original on 11 September 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  2. ^ Richards, Chris (2014-09-08). "Complicated faith: Searching for God in the songs of Hiss Golden Messenger". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2016-11-08.
  3. ^ Inman, Davis (March 20, 2013). "Dead Reckoning: A Q&A with Hiss Golden Messenger". American Songwriter. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Poet, J. "Hiss Golden Messenger - Country Hai East Cotton". Allmusic. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  5. ^ a b O'Brien, Jon. "Hiss Golden Messenger". Allmusic. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  6. ^ Monroe, Jazz (December 7, 2010). "Hiss Golden Messenger - Bad Debt". Drowned in Sound. Archived from the original on November 18, 2013. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  7. ^ a b Currin, Grayson (April 26, 2012). "Hiss Golden Messenger - Poor Moon". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  8. ^ Litowitz (May 18, 2012). "Album Review: Hiss Golden Messenger – Poor Moon". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  9. ^ Moses, Bob (April 19, 2012). "A Revelation: Hiss Golden Messenger's Poor Moon -- Interview and Tracks". The Huffington Post. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  10. ^ Orr, Dacey (January 18, 2013). "Song Premiere: Hiss Golden Messenger - Sufferer (Love My Conqueror)". Paste. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  11. ^ a b Deusner, Stephen M. (April 1, 2013). "Hiss Golden Messenger - Haw". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  12. ^ a b c Jurek, Thom. "Hiss Golden Messenger - Haw". Allmusic. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  13. ^ "Merge welcomes Hiss Golden Messenger". Mergerecords.com. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  14. ^ "Hiss Golden Messenger announces Lateness of Dancers LP, out September 9". Mergerecords.com. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  15. ^ "Grammy Awards Winners & Nominees for Best Americana Album". grammy.com. Recording Academy. 2021. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  16. ^ "Newport Folk Festival stage schedule 2021". newportfolk.org. Retrieved 2021-09-21.
  17. ^ Kelly, Jennifer (March 26, 2013). "Hiss Golden Messenger - Haw". Dusted. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  18. ^ Lester, Paul (January 13, 2011). "Hiss Golden Messenger (No 945)". The Guardian. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  19. ^ a b c "Hiss Golden Messenger – Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved October 21, 2021.

External links[edit]