Hiss Golden Messenger are essentially MC Taylor and an assortment of talented musicians from North Carolina. I have seen him three times in three years, solo and now twice with a slightly different band. Each time it’s been different and tonight there’s much more of a groove feel to the set with a driving melody throughout and the additional guitar of The Dead Tongues’ Ryan Gustafson really adds depth to the sound.
Touring in support of one my albums of the year ‘Heart like a Levee’ the set obviously draws heavily from it but there’s room for plenty of cuts from his back catalogue.
Taylor has a haunting, slightly nasal voice but I have never heard him sound better tonight and the music really moves over and surrounds you tonight and brings the new songs to life. The title track and ‘Biloxi’ really stand out for me from the new cuts as well as new favourites, set closers ‘Southern Grammar’ and the call and refrain of ‘Brother Do you know the Road’ although not performed in the crowd like at Bush Hall last year.
Special mention as always to Taylor’s trusted partner in rhyme, the super talented Phil Cook who I was lucky to see in a small pub in Guildford earlier this year.
Also a word for the venue. The Village Underground has not been one of my favourite venues usually because of poor sight lines and the muddy sound but tonight everything was perfect. Got there earlier for better vantage point and the sound was spot on with great stereo separation of the instruments as well as minimal but atmospheric lighting.
A superb night out with one of the top artists around at the moment and is certainly up there with Simpson and Isbell as a songwriter and performer aty the top of his game.
Keep on rockin y’all.