Posts Tagged ‘ Paradise of Bachelors ’

Lonnie Holley: September 7, 2013 Paradise of Bachelors Day Show, Stephenson Amphitheatre (Raleigh, NC) – FLAC/MP3/Streaming

September 17, 2013


The tiny new North Carolina imprint Paradise of Bachelors may only have a catalog ten LPs deep, but among their offerings have been many of my favorites of the past couple years. For the first time, PoB decided to throw their own day show during the Hopscotch Music Festival to show off collaborations among artists they work with as well as friends of the label. Unlike the festival’s other events, which took place in downtown Raleigh, this show was held among the green expanse of a lovely outdoor amphitheater that is part of the Raleigh Little Theater complex. The result was a bright day with some of the festival’s best music.

Lonnie Holley began the show almost in the style of an invocation, setting a mystical, reverent tone for the day. Best known as an artist and sculptor, Holley’s forays into music have attracted the attention of a variety of well-known players in the indie music world, from Bill Callahan and Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox to his co-collaborators elsewhere at Hopscotch such as Mac McCaughan, Brad Cook, and Steve Gunn. What exactly to call Holley’s music eludes me, to be honest, so take it away, Aquarium Drunkard (in a review of this year’s LP, Just Before Music):

Holley restrains himself from too much conventional musicality—melody and that sort of thing. There is scarcely a proper chord change in his music, much less a full progression. He sings with an intense, emotional voice and unleashes lyrics without consistent meter or rhyme over gossamer keyboard lines that hang in the ether. His music is a blues nebula, splotched with riffy word jazz that shares in some rappers’ collagist aesthetics as well as the runaway passion of a gospel preacher enlivened by the Spirit.

Holley’s album title says something about what he’s trying to tap into with his sound. His music isn’t “primitive”, but it is primal, intended to speak to the universality of the human experience. On this day, Holley came out alone onstage, with the buzzing of cicadas his quiet backdrop. These four songs each told a story, but perhaps the most passionate was “One Garden But Many Gardens”, Holley’s tribute to what he called “Mother Universe” and her “gumbo-ish manner”.  To fully get the metaphor, I recommend checking out the banter track, but out here, among nature, Holley’s words resonated powerfully. There couldn’t have been a better way for this day to begin./

I recorded this set with a soundboard feed and Schoeps MK4V microphones directly in front of the stage. This recording emphasizes the soundboard feed to capture the full range of the vocals. While it reveals both some wind noise and the limits of the simple PA setup, it is nonetheless a solid recording. Enjoy!

Stream “One Garden But Many Gardens”

Download the complete show: [MP3] | [FLAC]

Note: All of the material on this site is offered with artist permission, free to fans, at our expense. The only thing we ask is that you download the material directly from this site, rather than re-posting the direct links or the files on other sites without our permission. Please respect our request.

Lonnie Holley
Paradise of Bachelors Day Show
Louise “Scottie” Stephenson Amphitheatre
Raleigh, NC USA

Schoeps MK4V>KC5>CMC6 + Soundboard>Edirol R-44 [Oade Concert Mod]>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (mix down, adjustments)>Izotope Ozone 5 (tube effect, EQ)>Audacity 2.03 (tracking, fades, amplify, balance, downsample)>FLAC ( level 8 )

01 [intro]
02 Opening Flower After Dew Drop
03 Water Coming Down
04 Grandma Wanted Me To Be Like the Bee
05 [banter]
06 One Garden But Many Gardens

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT Lonnie Holley, visit his facebook page, and buy Just Before Music from Dust Digital or iTunes.

Hiss Golden Messenger: August 17, 2013 Glasslands – FLAC/MP3/Streaming

August 20, 2013

[Photos courtesy of P Squared Photography]

A man can make complicated music these days in a room alone with a machine. Create a symphony out of bits and bytes, a hit single out of a 4/4 beat and an idea. If you look at what’s celebrated most often in music these days it’s one person transcending the limits of money and time and space and the need for bandmates, usually because of his or her skill with a machine. In case you forgot, men alone have been doing that for decades, centuries, eons. Just the machines were simpler.

Hiss Golden Messenger has more words in its name than regular band members. In the studio the band is MC Taylor, former lead singer of beloved San Francisco band The Court & Spark, and longtime collaborator Scott Hirsch, plus the cream of available guest players. On the road, it’s often Taylor alone.

What started it all — a rough-hewn bit of work called Bad Debt — was nothing more than Taylor banging out songs with a guitar and a tape deck in his kitchen, while his baby slept. If it sounds old-fashioned, way more old-fashioned than some wide-eyed impresario making beats with a MacBook Pro and Ableton, well, that’s because it is. Sometimes the best things are the simplest things, the ones made how we used to before everything got too easy. But to hear the deep feeling and rich meaning that Taylor can put into a song with the tools he has, well, the old way starts to look economical. Take the Bad Debt spirit, add a band and unforced, high-quality production, and you’ve got masterpieces like his two primary releases on North Carolina imprint Paradise of Bachelors Poor Moon and this year’s Haw, which are probably my two favorite records of the past two years.

This night’s show at Glasslands — Taylor’s first New York show in four years — brought us back to the Bad Debt days, with Taylor alone at a guitar in front of a room that, with no disrespect to the night’s headliner Daughn Gibson, seemed to include a lot of folks, myself included, who’d come to see him. We were rewarded again and again. Taylor’s typical set-starting song, “Father Sky” found itself replaced with his version of a traditional song, most recently popularized as “When I Was A Young Girl” by Nina Simone. Two new numbers, possibly to appear on an upcoming EP, showed up for the first time I’ve heard them. “Southern Grammar”, streaming below, was particularly breathtaking, continuing Mike’s ongoing lyrical struggles with faith. On stage sitting down in old jeans, a white tank top and a Caterpillar hat, Mike looked like an anachronism, especially on a Saturday night. He didn’t have much for us to look at, gimmicks to parlay into Twitter excitement or iPhone photos. Hiss Golden Messenger had nothing but music, and words. He sang, and the world went still.

This recording is primarily the soundboard feed of engineer Josh Thiel’s house mix, plus a small amount of the house mics for ambiance. The sound is excellent. Enjoy!

Stream “Southern Grammar”

Stream “The Serpent Is Kind (Compared to Man)”

Download the complete show: [MP3] | [FLAC]

Note: All of the material on this site is offered with artist permission, free to fans, at our expense. The only thing we ask is that you download the material directly from this site, rather than re-posting the direct links or the files on other sites without our permission. Please respect our request.


Hiss Golden Messenger
Brooklyn, NY USA

Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Soundboard (engineer: Josh Thiel) + Naiant XR>Sound Devices USBPre2>>Edirol R-44 [OCM]>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (light reverb to SBD)>Izotope Ozone 5 (tape effect)>Audacity (fades, tracking, amplify, balance, downsample)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time 38:28]
01 When I Was A Young (Boy) [Nina Simone]
02 [banter1]
03 Blue Country Mystic
04 Call Him Daylight
05 [banter2]
06 O Little Light
07 He Wrote the Book
08 Southern Grammar
09 [banter3]
10 Chapter & Verse
11 The Serpent Is Kind (Compared To Man)
12 [banter4]
13 I’ve Got A Name For The Newborn Child

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT Hiss Golden Messenger, like him on Facebook, and purchase Haw and his other releases on digital or vinyl from Paradise of Bachelors [HERE], or all of his releases on vinyl [HERE].

Hiss Golden Messenger: September 7, 2012 Hopscotch Festival (Raleigh, NC) – FLAC / MP3 / Streaming

September 11, 2012

[Photos by acidjack]

It’s a fitting coincidence that as the third annual Hopscotch Music Festival took place in venues across downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, the Democratic Party gathered for its annual convention in Charlotte a few hours south to officially re-nominate the nation’s first black President. People unfamiliar with North Carolina have a habit of lumping it in with places that have little to do with it; witness the epithets thrown at the state following the passage of the state’s anti-gay marriage amendment. Like every state in this Union (including New York, where gay marriage didn’t exactly pass by overwhelming margins), North Carolina is a complicated jumble of old and new, and the negative things I saw people saying on social media and elsewhere didn’t square with the place I lived in eleven years ago. What I saw during this past weekend bested my highest expectations for the area’s future; more than ever, the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area (the “Triangle”, as it’s known) is a place of big, positive things. Hopscotch – of, by and for the vibrant music scene of the Triangle – in many ways is a microcosm of modern North Carolina. And if one single artist could encapsulate all that was good about Hopscotch, I would submit that it’s the Durham, NC based songwriter MC Taylor, aka Hiss Golden Messenger.

Taylor took the Fletcher Opera Theater stage in the dark, the room so quiet we could hear his footsteps.

“Hey now, brother, don’t you know the road?” he called out, voice as sweet as that tea they like to drink down here.

And as they walked on, his current bandmates responded back: “Yes, my brother, I know”.

The classic blues call-and-response builds for a few minutes, as Taylor’s fellow players (an all-star cast consisting of, among others, the Nashville guitarist William Tyler and Phil and Brad Cook of Megafaun) take the stage behind him.

“I was no good and I was all alone,” Taylor sings, that sweetness rent with heartbreak.

“Yes, my brother, I know”.

The verses of “Brother, Do You Know the Road” continue until they build to an extended instrumental bridge, Tyler wailing a mournful line on his Telecaster, and ending, as it began, with that call-and-response. And that’s only the first few minutes of an hour-long set so beautiful it brought me to tears a couple of times. Taylor’s voice is spine-tingling good, with the songs to match.

This show never slowed from those first verses of “Brother”, as the band – who had never played together as a complete unit before this show – jelled into a formidable seven-piece that added a wealth of new texture to Taylor’s compositions. Along with “Brother,” Taylor played the as-yet unreleased “Red Rose Nantahala”, a bluegrass-tinged number in which Nathaniel Bowles’ (of the Black Twig Pickers) banjo lead melded with Tyler’s electric guitar. “Jesus Shot Me In the Head” was treated to a meditative, extended intro that accentuated its psychedelic leanings. Rather than a new band, this one sounded like a group of longtime collaborators; it couldn’t hurt that many of them are friends, and some had played on Taylor’s latest record, Poor Moon.  But really, even with a crack band, the centerpiece of Hiss Golden Messenger is always Taylor and his voice, and this intimate theater proved to be the perfect venue to showcase Taylor’s abilities. The band closed with “Super Blue (Two Days Clean)”, a rocking song about an addict’s welcome of a relapse. Charley Patton might have found a lot to like in Taylor’s lyrics, and he’d probably have been jealous of the quality of the players behind it.

Despite a much-deserved spate of recent positive press, Taylor still doesn’t play out much other than in North Carolina, where his legend is spreading. He has released a few records, including the hard-to-find Bad Debt LP of roughshod motel blues, the pop-veering Country Hai East Cotton, and the aforementioned current masterpiece, Poor MoonPoor Moon, consisting partly of filled-out versions of the Bad Debt material, saw limited release on North Carolina’s Paradise of Bachelors imprint in 2011 before being re-released more widely by the Tompkins Square label (and re-pressed by Paradise of Bachelors) in 2012. Drenched in the blues, gospel, bluegrass and Appalachian folk, Poor Moon is an almost flawless work of songwriting in which Taylor melds those classic styles into a new form that is distinctly his. A lecturer on folklore, it is no surprise that Taylor is an expert on this area’s rich past.

This was my favorite by far, but this set from Taylor is one of many, many magical moments at this year’s Hopscotch. Co-founders Grayson Currin (a Pitchfork contributor) and Greg Lowenhagen and their team have created something truly special down in North Carolina. At this rate, it won’t be long before the Triangle is joining or even replacing the Austins of the world near the top of the U.S. musical conversation. Brother, now you know.

I recorded this set with Schoeps MK5 microphones from the center of the balcony. Due to a battery failure, the last few minutes of the last song are patched from an inferior backup source, but other than this small flaw, the recording is excellent. Enjoy!

Stream “Jesus Shot Me In the Head”

Stream “Call Him Daylight”

Direct download of MP3 files [HERE] | Direct download of FLAC files [HERE]
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Note: All of the material on this site is offered with artist permission, free to fans, at our expense. The only thing we ask is that you download the material directly from this site, rather than re-posting the direct links or the files on other sites without our permission. Please respect our request.

Hiss Golden Messenger
Hopscotch Music Festival
Fletcher Opera Theater
Raleigh, NC USA

Exclusive download hosted at
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Schoeps MK5 (cardiod, balcony, DFC, DIN)>KC5>CMC6>Edirol R-44 [OCM] + (last few minutes of last track only) Tascam DR-40 internal mics (X/Y)>>Audacity (set fades, tracking, EQ, amplify, balance, downsample)>FLAC ( level 8 )
01 Brother, Do You Know the Road?
02 [band intros]
03 Call Him Daylight
04 Red Rose Nantahala
05 A Working Man Can’t Make It No Way
06 Jesus Shot Me In the Head
07 [banter]
08 Drummer Down
09 O Nathaniel
10 Westering
11 O Little Light
12 Super Blue (Two Days Clean)

MC Taylor (Vocals, Acoustic Guitar)
Scott Hirsch (Bass Guitar)
William Tyler (Guitar)
Nathaniel Bowles (Banjo)
Terry Lonergan (Drums)
Phil Cook (Keyboards, Guitar)
Brad Cook (Electric Guitar)

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT Hiss Golden Messenger, like him on Facebook, and purchase Poor Moon on digital or vinyl from Paradise of Bachelors [HERE] and all of his releases on vinyl [HERE].

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