Hiss Golden Messenger, the project of M.C. Taylor, has released the third single ahead of Quietly Blowing It, out June 25 via Merge Records. The album follows 2019’s Terms of Surrender, which earned Taylor a Grammy nomination for best Americana Album.
“Hardlytown” is a soulful, harmonica-infused exploration of what we owe to each other. The folk rock of Bob Dylan is felt as an influence throughout the song, but especially in the KidEthnic-directed music video. In the video, Taylor stands with cue cards depicting the song’s lyrics just as Dylan does in the video for one of Paste’s favorite songs in his discography, “Subterranean Homesick Blues.”
Taylor discussed “Hardlytown” in a statement:
The times that we’re living through have made me think, in so many different ways large and small, about our obligations to one another. How much to give away? How much to keep for ourselves? How much is too much, and how much is not enough? Maybe the conversation that the mother and son have throughout “Hardlytown” was my attempt to reckon with the tension that exists between selflessness and selfishness. We all know some version of this conversation. We’re currently in the middle of it as a country and as a species. I have two children, and I’m trying to teach them about what it means to be, and the ways we all stand to benefit from being, good neighbors. It’s sort of a simple lesson in theory, but more complicated in practice. But then, I guess all good things are.
We hailed Taylor’s lead Quietly Blowing It single, “If It Comes in the Morning,” released March 8, as one of that week’s best songs.
Watch the video for Hiss Golden Messenger’s “Hardlytown” below, and keep scrolling to revisit Taylor in the Paste Studio in 2019.