The past few months have been an exciting time for Hiss Golden Messenger, the Durham-based recording project of M.C. Taylor. Last year’s excellent and sedately funky folk-rock trove, Poor Moon, saw a CD reissue via the venerable imprint Tompkins Square. Taylor also contributed to a compilation honoring folk legend Michael Chapman and shared the stage with him in Durham. With recording under way for HGM’s Poor Moon follow-up, the outfit is offering yet another 2012 highlight.
Paradise of Bachelors, the Durham-based label that first unveiled Poor Moon, is releasing a split 7-inch from HGM and Elephant Micah, the somber and seductive songwriting outlet of Indiana’s Joe O’Connell. The single, called Hiss Golden Messenger Plays Elephant Micah Plays Hiss Golden Messenger, finds each outfit covering one of the other’s songs. Elephant Micah offers an ethereal and elegiac take on Poor Moon's “Balthazar’s Song,” while Taylor takes on O’Connell’s “My Cousin’s King,” filling it with reassuring warmth via acoustic guitar and mandolin. You can stream both covers below.