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coverpic flag US - North Carolina - Full Moon 247 - 10/16/16

Hiss Golden Messenger
Heart Like a Levee
Merge Records

I'm not particularly interested in folk/country-inspired bands and artists. In fact, I got bored with the whole "sad woman/man with guitar singing sad songs"-scene some years ago. But! I make an exception when it comes to Michael C. Taylor, the Californian songwriter recording as Hiss Golden Messenger. The combination of his talented songwriting and no-bullshit performance makes his records really enjoyable. Heart Like a Levee is his second album on Merge Records and his sixth full album overall.

What makes this album stand out compared to albums by other singer/songwriters is the fact that Taylor and his fellow musicians manages to keep every song interesting, musically, through the somewhat simple, but still intriguing arrangements. Really nice and tasteful guitarplaying, subtle use of keyboards and clever use of a saxophone section are some of the means that make up a great sounding album, beautifully mixed by Brad Cook. The closeness in the mix somehow makes me feel like I'm sitting right in the middle of the band listening to a rehearsal in my own living room. And the songs? All killers, no fillers! As soon as the ending piano on "Highland Grace" fades out, I just want to hear the album all over again...

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