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Poor Moon

by: Hiss Golden Messenger

Album Artwork

(Tompkins Square) 

Hiss Golden Messenger is a Durham, North Carolina, songwriting duo featuring M.C. Taylor and Scott Hirsch. The two have been playing music together for two decades. This acoustic-based collection includes musical guests from Brightblack Morning Light, D. Charles Speer & The Helix and the Black Twig Pickers.

Taylor sings, plays guitar and mandolin, while Hirsch handles the electric guitar, lap steel, bass and mandolin duties. These 12 songs were recorded in one week at Echo Magic Studio. 

David Bowie recently said Poor Moon resembles "Mystical country like an eerie yellowing photograph." The opening track, "Blue Country Music" counts as a poetic spiritual number that keeps the listener on the sunny side of the street. "Call Him Daylight" retains a bayou acoustical texture with a low bottom resonance. "Drummer Down" emerges as a blues/folk composition that evokes ghosts, memories and matters of the soul.

"Under All the Land" conveys biblical blues in the 21st century. Crickets chirping in the background begins "Pittsboro Farewell" an Appalachian-sounding instrumental. "Super Blue (Two Days Clean)" is an upbeat rocker regarding a tightrope between quitting things that aren't good for you. "Jesus Shot Me Through The Head" begins with a thunderstorm and slowly lush instrumentation appears, and then Taylor sings: "God is good, it's understood/But he moves in mysterious ways." This is one of the strongest songs on the collection.

A generational song, "A Working Man Can't Make It No Way", stands as a country-sounding gem that makes for good riverside music. "Dreamwood" also begins with crickets, but this tune exists as one of the most emotive, timeless instrumentals I've heard in a long time. The final track, "Balthazar's Song" conjures a pure gospel message. Take heed, Hiss Golden Messenger's Poor Moon delivers musical medicine to the heart.

James Calemine

related tags

North Carolina,
Mystery and Manners,


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