Hiss Golden Messenger is wrapping up the year with an unexpected delight: O Come All Ye Faithful. Along with the familiar title track, the set gathers a few other hymns (“Joy to the World,” “Silent Night”) and three new songs written by Hiss Golden Messenger’s MC Taylor. The lead track, “Hung Fire,” echoes the feeling of the artist’s album from earlier this year, Quietly Blowing It. Meanwhile, it winds down with a warm cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “As Long as I Can See the Light.”
As for that album cover? It’s an homage to Emmylou Harris’ classic Christmas collection, Light of the Stable. Indeed, both projects provide a subtle (and often lovely) interpretation of seasonal music. On O Come All Ye Faithful, Taylor puts a different spin on “Shine a Light” by Spiritualized as well as “Hanukkah Dance” by Woody Guthrie. He also wrote three new songs for the album.
“Big, brash holiday music — the type that we hear in big-box stores in the middle of December — has never resonated with me, and this past year it felt absolutely dissonant. I wanted to make a seasonal record that felt more in step with the way that I, and so many others, experience this time of year: quiet, contemplative, searching and bittersweet,” Taylor says. “The intention was to make a seasonal record with vibe.”
Special guests on O Come All Ye Faithful include Erin Rae and Buddy Miller, along with members of Hiss Golden Messenger’s extended family. For example, speaking about one of the album’s new tracks, Taylor states, “‘Grace’ is about keeping a light for those that are struggling or lost or confused or grieving: the gone ones, our children, poets, teachers. My friends Nathaniel Rateliff, Aoife O’Donovan and Sonyia Turner help me on the choruses.”
At BGS, we’ve been a fan of Hiss Golden Messenger from the start, so we’ll be sharing some of our archived content on our site and socials, like this interview from June 2021. And in the coming weeks, we will present an exclusive interview with MC Taylor — along with plenty of other holiday content.
As we begin to say goodbye to the year, we’re grateful for the music we’ve received in 2021 and we look forward to more. Season’s greetings to all, and please enjoy this BGS Essentials playlist for Hiss Golden Messenger below.
Photo Credit: Chris Frasina
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