Taking a cue from the Grateful Dead’s legendary Dick’s Picks series, Hiss Golden Messenger are launching their own collection of live recordings. Affectionately dubbed “Parker’s Picks” after Warren Parker who joined the band on their fall tour of the U.S. to record the shows, the series kicked off today with the release of the band’s performance at The Parish in Austin on Oct. 18.
Describing the genesis of the series, Parker explains in an email:
There really wasn’t any reason not to record, if anything the tapes were going to serve as a reference for the band. Archival recordings to document the various lineups on different tours. But the HGM live experience is totally different than the HGM we hear on their records, and the shows on this tour were really something special, so why not share that with everyone?
The band’s leader and mastermind, MC Taylor, has occasionally shared fan tapings of shows, but this marks the first official live release for Hiss Golden Messenger and the band are allowing fans to download the show for free, or pay what they want, via their Bandcamp page. “Giving it away for free just seemed right, especially for the first in the series. A nice kickdown to the fans,” says Parker.
You can download the album here, and see the artwork and tracklist for Parker’s Picks Vol. 1 below, along with a mini-essay penned by Parker in which he describes what made the Austin show stand out. Also, revisit Hiss Golden Messenger’s Paste Studio session, which they recorded when they came through NYC later on that same tour.
Parker’s Picks Vol. 1 Album Art:
Parker’s Picks Vol. 1 Tracklist:
01. As The Crow Flies
03. Saturday’s Song
04. Mahogany Dread
05. Day O Day (Love So Free)
06. Tell Her I’m Just Dancing
07. Heart Like A Levee
08. Happy Day (Sister My Sister)
09. Like A Mirror Loves A Hammer
10. Drum /// I’ve Got A Name For The Newborn Child
11. Red Rose Nantahala
12. O Little Light
13. Say It Like You Mean It
14. Cracked Windshield
16. MC Speaks
17. Southern Grammar
18. John The Gun
19. Brother, Do You Know The Road?
Warren Parker on the Austin Show:
Austin, Texas. The Parish. October 18th, 2016.
Austin is one of my favorite cities in the universe. I have close friends and some kin there. The city feels very comfortable, welcoming in the funkiest of ways. I love the vibe. I was glad to be back, albeit briefly.
This was show #5 in as many days, at the start of a six-week tour that took us in a circle around the US, with a few stints into Canada as well. The trip ended up being about 13,000 miles total. Day 5 and we had already traveled from Durham to Asheville to Nashville to Atlanta to New Orleans to Austin. “Honkin’ down the gosh darn highway,” visiting these cities quickly, almost rushed, stopping long enough to preach the gospel of Heart Like A Levee to those who were hip, those who were ready. Heart Like A Levee hadn’t yet been out in the world for two weeks, so the eagerness to preach was strong. We were anxious for people to hear it.
We were tired, understandably, but excited. Morale was high.
We were on an adventure.
I was just happy to be included on the team, a newbie on my first tour, away from my fiance (now wife) for the longest stretch of our entire relationship, forging a new, personal relationship with one of my longtime favorite bands – dudes who, aside from a few shows we’d worked together in previous years and a small handful of email exchanges, existed mostly through speakers & on vinyl records. Lucky me to be in the presence of such talent, such inspiration, such GOODness. I loved every damn second of that tour.
Hiss turned a corner at The Parish and it was obvious. To me, at least, but I like to think the crowd knew something special was happening too. They were attentive and appreciative. The energy on stage during HGM’s set was gelling very nicely and it was noticeable early in the show, within the first few songs. It felt different than the four previous nights. Looser, but tighter, if that makes any sense. Mike even makes a comment about that during the set. “Finding the rhythm.” Listen to the show and you’ll get it, you’ll hear it.
Scott was celebrating another trip around the sun, so there was a pep in the step because of that. HB brother Scott!
We were brought Torchy’s Tacos for dinner by a friend of the band. We were fueled up!
We had a couple earned days off following this show before the next gig in Phoenix, with fun stops planned in the cosmic West Texas town of Marfa, and the beautiful White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. We were looking forward to visiting these places and to have some down time.
But we were looking forward to the gig that night at The Parish even more and it showed. Goddammit it showed.
Like I said, morale was high, and it stayed that way.