Song of the Day: Hiss Golden Messenger - Biloxi

Song of the Day
12/28/2016
Matthew Howland
photo by Matthew B. Thompson

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is "Biloxi" by Hiss Golden Messenger, from Heart Like a Levee, out on Merge Records.

Hiss Golden Messenger - Biloxi (MP3)Hiss Golden Messenger's "Biloxi" is anchored by the repeated phrase "It's hard, Lord// Lord, it's hard," which should not be of any particular surprise to fans of M.C. Taylor's music. Since he started recording music under the Hiss Golden Messenger moniker, Taylor has mixed elements of country, folk, gospel, and blues to properly situate his darkly poetic lyrics. On his sixth album, Heart Like a Levee, released back in October, Taylor continues his exploration of family, adulthood, and fulfillment, though the music around his words frequently raises him up, making the album ultimately about acceptance rather than regret.

"Biloxi" takes place at Taylor's eldest child's birthday party, the world-weary refrain ("It's hard, Lord// Lord, it's hard") intercutting Taylor's reflections on his life leading up until this point. Far from sounding like a complaint, Taylor's voice is joined by his bandmates' vocals, creating a sense of community further backed by the almost joyous instrumentation. The listener is left with the warm ring of Taylor's voice, as he sings, perhaps in spite of himself, "Everybody in the whole damn place has gotta have a good time."

Hiss Golden Messenger is currently touring parts of the Midwest, East Coast, and South, until halfway through February. To find out more information, check out the band's website and Facebook. In the meantime, here is Hiss Golden Messenger's excellent KEXP in-studio from earlier this year:

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