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Interview:
Hiss Golden Messenger at The Loving Touch, 3 Things To Know
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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It's been nearly 10 years since M.C. Taylor formed Hiss Golden Messenger in Durham, N.C., launching a project with changing members and a musical palette wider than the styles covered the broad Americana umbrella.

Taylor has kept himself busy during the intervening years, releasing six albums and a few EPs and logging plenty of time on the road. HGM's latest, "Heart Like A Levee," came out in October and features backing vocals by Tift Merritt and Alexandra Sauser-Monning among Taylor's other North Carolina contributors.

We caught up with Taylor by phone while HGM was driving towards a tour stop in Salt Lake City...

Taylor's goal for "Heart Like A Levee" was "to write a bunch of songs that I thought were really good," which, he adds, is no mean feat. "I was just writing and writing and throwing away as many (songs) as I kept, for sure -- which I think is a big, important part of the puzzle," he says. "Certainly for a songwriter, you have to be tough on the material and make sure it can stand up."

And what's the litmus test for songs that can "stand up" like Taylor wants? "It's funny; It's just a feeling," he explains. "It's just the feeling that I get. There's something about the way a melody works against a set of chords. A lot of times I sit down with a guitar and work on a song, and it can sometimes feel like everything has been done before. But every once in awhile you end up with something whose constituent parts are very simple but feel fresh. That's what I'm chasing -- the feeling of newness."

Taylor had a day job as a folklorist for the state of North Carolina, but he's gradually transitioned into HGM as a full-time concern. "Music is no stranger to me and I've spent my whole life making music, making records and touring, but always with the idea that I'd also need a part-time job and usually a full-time job," he says. "As the visibility of Hiss Golden Messenger has grown, my feet sort of got put to the flame and I ended up quitting my job. I felt like I was stepping into the unknown. I still do. Sometimes it feels like you're falling into a pit, sometimes it feels like you're falling into a river. But at the same time I recognize how deeply fortunate I am to get to do what I'm doing and what I love, traveling and playing music."

Hiss Golden Messenger and Phil Cook.

Monday, Nov. 7. Doors open at 7 p.m.

The Loving Touch, 22634 Woodward Ave., Ferndale.

Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door.

Call 248-820-5596 or visit thelovingtouchferndale.com.

Web Site: www.thelovingtouchferndale.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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