The newest album from North Carolina’s Hiss Golden Messenger, Heart Like a Levee, listens like a collection of songs Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, The Byrds, James Taylor, Dr. John, and Van Morrison might have written, but there’s an undeniable element from the songwriting force behind HGM, M.C. Taylor, that makes them undeniably his own.
These songs are bittersweet, but they are not vague, nebulous notions of love or sorrow. Yes, this is clearly Southern-influenced “Americana” for lack of a better term, but he doesn’t make use of the trade’s tired tools like pick up trucks, whiskey, and women done-ya-wrong. When so many artists are emulating (to the point of copying) bygone eras of music or writing it from the insulated rooms of Nashville, Taylor’s songs have a sincere sense of place and the topics are decidedly unsexy. He did not write about a father who quit his job to pursue his art and feels simultaneous guilt and freedom. He is that father. These songs were not born of studio sessions, but rather motel rooms and his home in Durham.
Recorded with fellow North Carolinians The Cook Brothers, Phil and Bradley from the band Megafaun, drummer Matt McCaughan (Bon Iver), and Tift Merritt on backup vocals, Heart Like a Levee is what Southern music desperately needed this year.
Watch the newest video for the song “Like a Mirror Loves a Hammer,” with James Bond and kaleidoscope-inspired visuals below.
Hiss Golden Messenger is also announcing new national and international dates through April, with many in the South.
Nov 17 Washington, DC – Rock & Roll Hotel *
Nov 19 Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
Dec 01 Antwerp, BE – De Roma *
Dec 03 Brighton, UK – Bleach †
Dec 04 Leeds, UK – Brudenell Social Club *
Dec 05 London, UK – Village Underground †
Dec 07 Berlin, DE – Privat Club †
Dec 08 Amsterdam, NE – Bitterzoet *
Jan 26 Bloomington, IN – The Bishop
Jan 27 Holland, MI – Knickerbocker Theatre at Hope College
Jan 28 Ann Arbor, MI – The Blind Pig
Jan 29 Columbus, OH – Wexner Center
Jan 31 Pittsburgh, PA – The Warhol Museum
Feb 01 Harrisonburg, VA – Court Square Theatre
Feb 02 Morgantown, WV – 123 Pleasant Street
Feb 03 Richmond, VA – The Broadberry
Feb 06 Oxford, MS – Proud Larry’s
Feb 07 Birmingham, AL – The Saturn
Feb 08 Tallahassee, FL – Club Downunder
Feb 09 Jacksonville, FL – Jack Rabbits
Feb 10 Athens, GA – 40 Watt Club
Feb 11 Charleston, SC – The Charleston Pourhouse
Feb 12 Charlotte, NC – The Neighborhood Theatre
Apr 01 Savannah, GA – Savannah Music Festival
Apr 02 Savannah, GA – Savannah Music Festival
* – with Phil Cook
† – with The Dead Tongues