Hiss Golden Messenger Drops Live Album for Durham Public Schools Kids

“To give what I can.” Amen, sir. Grab the music at his Bandcamp page. HGM is a longtime BLURT hero par excellence.

By Fred Mills

North Carolina’s M.C. Taylor and his Hiss Golden Messenger collective have just surprise-released a live album, Forced Children: A Fundraiser for Durham Public Schools students. It’s a wonderful recording, intimate yet expansive and perfect for playing on the stereo loud and with the windows open since we’re all shut in anyway, and I will spare you any editorial blather and simply copy, below, the info at the Bandcamp page where you can order it. Suggested price for the digital release is $10 or more, and if you can kick in more than $10, please do. It’s for a great cause, and M.C. knows his shit.

From Bandcamp:

“When M.C. Taylor moved to North Carolina more than a dozen years ago now, Hiss Golden Messenger was his private enterprise, an outlet for the curious songs he composed quietly at his kitchen table in the country. But soon after Taylor and his budding family moved to a modest home nestled back from busy roads in the gentle Durham hills, he began building a network of local aces, all sympathetic to songs that documented his quest to be a better human being. Hiss Golden Messenger became and remain a community endeavor, an indelible part of North Carolina’s historic and contemporary musical fabric. The 15 songs of Forward, Children: A fundraiser for Durham Public Schools students are an instant illustration of that decade-long arc, a one-night snapshot of Hiss Golden Messenger’s metamorphosis from solitary songwriter fare to full-band jubilee.

“Just days into 2020, the quintet—well-rested from a holiday respite after a busy 2019 that included some 60 shows across the United States and the release of the gripping Terms of Surrender—loaded into their home region’s legendary hub, Cat’s Cradle, for a two-night stand. For nearly 90 minutes, they smoke, sorting through the greatest hits of the Hiss Golden Messenger songbook with the intuition of a band that accepts these tunes as gospel…

“The son of two teachers, Taylor taught for a spell at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, arguably the nation’s first public university, after finishing his graduate degree there, joining one of the country’s proudest educational lineages. His wife, Abby, is now an ESL instructor in Durham, and his children, Elijah and Ione, are in the fifth and first grades there, respectively. In mid-March, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Durham Public Schools closed like most others nationwide, at least through mid-May. The necessary move means that many children throughout the school system don’t know where they’ll get their next meal, a profound failure of our social safety network but a profound opportunity for our collective help. All profits from Forward, Children will benefit the Durham Public Schools Foundation. “It’s my duty as a dad of students and the spouse of a teacher,” Taylor says, “to give what I can.”

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