Words and photos by: Jerry Friend
Durham based artist M.C. Taylor founding member of the band Hiss Golden Messenger is releasing Jump For Joy the band's latest album on August 25th. Jump for Joy is unlike any previous Hiss Golden Messenger album conceptually, musically and lyrically. It contains the most optimistic and groove-filled songs that bandleader and singer songwriter M.C. Taylor has made. The first track on the record "20 Years And A Nickel" opens with a searching piano and organ piece that smoothly transforms into a danceable groove that sets the tone for what lies ahead for the listener.
Listen to the vibey new song HERE.
The narrative is semi-autobiographical as Taylor created a character, Michael Crow, to represent his own life in the world of music. The bandleader, singer, songwriter, wanted to examine the path of his life as an artist who in the beginning of this journey was obsessed with his work and going out on the road to promote the music. The hardships that lifestyle created that lead to many artists to almost giving up the struggle, including, how creating a family brought new challenges in finding ways to balance a career in music with everything else that life brings, which brings us up until the present day.
According to MC Taylor "If the 14 songs on Jump for Joy might be heard as the Book of Michael Crow, a temporal travelogue, of sorts, that traces the ecstasy and sorrow of a life lived alongside music through a character very similar to me, then perhaps '20 Years and a Nickel' is the prologue," says Taylor. "Not only is it the first song, but it also lays out two opposing perspectives that I am lately trying to hold in my hands, and brain, simultaneously. Namely, after twenty years and a nickel--my longhand for 25 years, although I guess I've been writing songs even longer than that--I'm a little bit of an expert on the form AND I have no idea how to write a song. Is there such a thing as a simple song? Maybe. But they don't come easy."
The first single "Nu-Grape" bursts with buoyant verses and a gospel-tingered chorus featuring Aoife O'Donovan and Amy Helm on backing vocals. You can watch the new music video for "Nu-Grape" HERE.
Their second single "Shinbone" is about taking chances to move forward. Listen to the inspiring track HERE.
Jump For Joy is the follow-up to 2021's critically acclaimed release Quietly Blowing It, which was an intimate and introspective offering. The album received 4-star reviews in Rolling Stone and American Songwriter along with positive coverage in The New York Times, Associated Press, Relix and more. Taylor was featured on NPR Weekend Edition and the band appeared on CBS Saturday Morning. Hiss Golden Messenger's 2019 album Terms of Surrender received a Grammy nomination for Best Americana Album. Taylor was a guest at The Warren Haynes Christmas Jam in Asheville NC last year. Hiss Golden Messenger performed at the Fall Shakori Hills Festival of Dance in music with Sam Fribush on keys. Fribush who lives in Greensboro, NC has joined is playing keys on Jump For Joy
The band's 3 day run at the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw, NC is September 15th-17th tickets are already on sale now HERE. The venue is a hidden treasure for live music fans nestled between Chapel Hill, and Greensboro in the small town of Saxapahaw whch sits on the Haw River, It is part of a successful revitalization of an old river mill that turned the once industrial space into condominiums, a performance space, restaurants and shops. The Ballroom is helping to give the Triad and the Triangle an intimate, indoor space for local, regional and national touring acts to perform