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Welcome Back: Hiss Golden Messenger – masters of alternative country

MC Taylor and his southern rockers (AKA Hiss Golden Messenger) return with an atmospheric album of alternative country.

Two years ago Hiss Golden Messenger’s The Lateness Of Dancers made a surprise appearance in Classic Rock’s Top Ten Albums Of The Year. And Heart Like A Levee might just repeat the trick. It’s another collection of low-key, quirky Americana steeped in southern tradition, magic and fable, but crackling with the kind of weird electricity that suggests the album was somehow formed in the ether rather than being recorded down here on earth. It’s been a strange journey for Hiss mainman MC Taylor since his early days playing hardcore in Santa Barbara.

How did you navigate the path from punk to what you’re doing now?

Well, I grew up. That’s not to disavow that music – it was very formative for me – but I was eighteen or nineteen years old and my world started to expand. And in the spirit of punk rock, the thing that felt like it would break the most rules was to get into traditional American music, like country and western, bluegrass, old-time music and blues. I was young and wanted to make a statement.

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