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Haw (Reissue)

HISS GOLDEN MESSENGER

Haw (Reissue)

Merge Records

$26.00
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Haw is the name of a river, a modest tributary of the Cape Fear, flowing rocky and swift through 110 miles of Piedmont North Carolina, wending Southeasterly past abandoned and repurposed textile mills, rickety hippie homesteads, and red-clay farmland fringed with pine forests. Haw is also one of a few names for a small Siouan tribe that once resided in the river’s valley and may have alternately known themselves as the Saxapahaw or Sissipahaw. 

M.C. Taylor, who wrote these songs, once lived hard by the Haw with his wife Abigail and their son Elijah, but he doesn’t live there anymore. Having followed the slipstream to the relative bustle of nearby Durham, North Carolina, he has composed a new clutch of tunes that conjure the half-remembered dreams of peace promised by our pasts. 

Taylor’s writing and singing here achieve a tenebrous clarity, invoking— and occasionally challenging—a intermingling cast of prophetic characters both sacred and profane: Daniel, Elijah, the Apostles, and the Son of Man, sure, but also the Peacock Fiddle Band, Mississippi John Hurt, and by implication, Lew Welch, Waylon Jennings, Michael Hurley, and our friend Jefferson Currie II. Say whatever prayer you want: to Jehovah or Yahowah, or Red Rose Nantahala.More than ever before, the supporting players of Hiss Golden Messenger feature as tellers of the tale. Each episode earns a meticulously turned ensemble statement. 

In the band, rhythm section stalwarts Terry Lonergan (drums) and Taylor’s longtime musical brother Scott Hirsch (bass, guitar, and production) are joined by Durham multi-instrumentalist Phil Cook, Black Twig Pickers banjoist Nathan Bowles, and on Telecaster William Tyler. Bobby Crow (saxophone), Matt Cunitz (keys), Gordon Hartin (steel guitar), Joseph DeCosimo (fiddle), Sonia Turner (vocals), and Mark Paulson of the Bowerbirds (strings) also crew, navigating Haw’s shoals of trouble and delight. 

Haw remastered by Chris Boerner at Kitchen Mastering. Artwork reimagined by Sam Smith (Lateness of Dancers).



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