It’s almost May Day, with Cinco de Mayo and Derby Day hot on the heels of love, so if you’ve got a barge or dock, and you’re like Merle Haggard, you should consider making a record on that barge or dock while floating around Lake Shasta, as documented in this timeless photo.

For obvious reasons, that picture is an avowed favorite of Hiss Golden Messenger chief M.C. Taylor, whose Poor Moon LP continues to garner a lot of attention and critical acclaim. While PoB is still your source for the original vinyl incarnation of the record, which you can buy here, the CD reissue on Tompkins Square has resulted in a second wave of press, including the following solid gold nuggets and ingots. (We’re feeling nostalgic for those heady days following the record’s original release back on the Day of the Dead…)


We are particularly thrilled and grateful for Grayson Currin’s review on Pitchfork. In these days of copiously spilled digi-ink, it’s heartening to read such a thoughtful, eloquent analysis of a thing as old-fashioned as a vinyl record of country and gospel songs.

Poor Moon is a fantastic, on-repeat record that recalls the aesthetic risks and rewards of the best stuff produced by Laurel Canyon’s singer-songwriters and, decades later, the stylistically daring musicians associated with New Weird America. Hiss Golden Messenger pairs an instant accessibility with careful complexity [on these] 13 tracks of skewed, country-soul greatness.”

We are always impressed and humbled by the ductile writing, equine insights, and stellar musicianship of Nathan Salsburg, who penned this lovely review of Poor Moon for Other Music.

Poor Moon is the sound of Taylor, joined by his long-time co-writer and arranger Scott Hirsch, corralling a mighty and potentially messy herd of, in the words of Tony Joe White, “elements and things” — musical and textual; popular and folkloric; sacred and secular and pretty well goddamned — into a folk-rock masterpiece that reveals itself both in short bursts and over long arcs, realized both minutely and effortlessly. Needless to say, it sounds as good, as vital, and as essential today as it did when it first reached me last summer. Hiss Golden Messenger is now the morning-line favorite for 2012, and thus a shoe-in for hitting my Other Music best-of trifecta.”

(Nathan is an instrumental figure at the Alan Lomax Archive, by the way; if you’re interested in Lomax, or American vernacular music in general, please check out these wonderful streaming audio resources, and this rather long reevaluation of Lomax’s career, written by yours truly.)


Thank y’all kindly for the following Poor Moon notices and interviews as well:::::::::::::::::::

No Depression interview here and here.

Huffington Post interview.

“Hermes grabs a banjo and a kick drum, and incarnates as Hiss Golden Messenger” (SSG Music.)

Uprooted Music Review interview.

The Mad Mackerel Recommends.

Exclaim! review.

Aquarium Drunkard: “These are melodies and stories straight out of the same Appalachian hills that gave birth to Gaither Carlton and Clarence Ashley. Find me something more American than that.”


Hey, Hiss Golden Messenger is on tour in the UK–with Michael Chapman!–through next week. You may be interested in the forthcoming Michael Chapman tribute album that features HGM’s version of Wrecked Again centerpiece “Fennario”; the comp likewise includes PoB pal Meg Baird, whose contribution is characteristically perfect. M.C. Taylor also recently recorded a Daytrotter session. Check back for an archived stream. 

Finally, ahem, please bear with us old heads as we navigate these tropical waters, but we now have a Twitter account, @PofBachelors. If you party that way.


(Buy Poor Moon here.)