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Hiss Golden Messenger brings the groove

The Troubadour, West Hollywood, Cal., December 15, 2023

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

Hiss Golden Messenger, the Durham, N.C. band led by vocalist/guitarist MC Taylor, put on a lively show on a cold night. Despite the big crowd, that gathered body heat didn't raise the temperature much inside the club. Then again, it's difficult to not move to Hiss Golden Messenger music, so many just created their own personal body warmth by dancing to the music.

It's not easy finding just one musical inspiration for Hiss Golden Messenger music. It is, though, very much groove music. The five-piece's most valuable player (at least live) is keyboardist Sam Fribush. He often takes instrumental solos and spices nearly everything with a little bit of soul. In that regard, one hears the influence of New Orleans funk/R&B. Then guitarist Chris Boerner many times adds low note guitar riffs and solos that make the band sound a little like The Band.

Lastly, most Hiss Messenger songs evolve into jams. These are not just jams that let one musician or other get a little of the spotlight glory, though. No, in most cases, these extended instrumental parts find the act gelling as one and reaching new sonic heights. This is not merely jam band music. Instead, it's jam band music with clear purpose.

Much of the setlist - including the semi disco-fied "Shinbone" - was drawn from the album, "Jump for Joy." The group also covered Paul McCartney's "Let Me Roll It," which also featured opener The Lostines on backing vocals.

The Lostines made a wonderful impression as the opener. Camille Wind Weatherford and Casey Jane Reece-Kaigler usually play with a full band, but tonight's show featured only these two women and one acoustic guitar. Their songs are relatively simple ones, utilizing strummed guitar chords. However, their singing is something truly special. Every song was highlighted by truly beautiful vocal harmonies. The crowd took in these performances with hushed reverence. The pair earned the audience's respect and held it for the entire set.

Hiss Golden Messenger filled this Friday night with perfect Friday night music. There's nothing better on a cold December night than grooving to some soulful rock and soul music.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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