Of the many underrated musical treasures in the Triangle, perhaps no other band lives up to the title like Durham's Hiss Golden Messenger. The spiritual musings of singer M.C. Taylor shape some of North Carolina's very best new songs, and their varied folk-rock represents a near perfect balance of intellectual stimulation and breezy accessibility. Despite all this, the band's releases exist mainly in obscurity; the recent LP Poor Moon was offered with a small pressing of 500 copies on Paradise of Bachelors.
Now, it seems the limelight may have finally caught Taylor. On April 17, left-of-center-music champion Tompkin Square will reissue Poor Moon on CD. In addition, they're planning a limited edition 7-inch for Record Store Day on April 21. The single will pair Poor Moon standout "Jesus Shot Me in the Head" with the unreleased song "Jesus Dub." Paired with an upcoming second vinyl pressing via Paradise of Bachelors, this excellent album will soon be more available than ever. In addition, Uncut Magazine named the British reissue of Hiss Golden Messenger's last LP, From Country Hai East Cotton, one of last year's best.
Fleshed out on record by multi-instrumentalist Scott Hirsch and a revolving door of talented musicians that include members of the Black Twig Pickers, Poor Moon combines myriad styles from the guitar-based end of the Great American Songbook into a lush and mercurial backdrop. Banjo picking gives way to funky guitar solos, which quickly give way to blistering blues rock. The words are better still, bravely exploring spirituality with brutal honesty and beautiful metaphors. This is good news for the 500 people that didn't get there first.