No boos but plenty of Hiss! 4CD/LP boxset from Hiss Golden Messenger coming in November on Merge

No boos but plenty of Hiss! 4CD/LP boxset from Hiss Golden Messenger coming in November on Merge
Photo: Andy Tennille

Yes, Halloween is approaching with the speed of a (cueing up the tinkling piano sounds…) runaway skeleton, but it’s not an occasion that puts everyone at ease. I dare say that because Halloween is deemed so fun and un-stressful, the expectations placed upon it make the night even more tense. Coming up with a crowd-pleasing costume (sexy nurse, sexy firefighter, sexy SOMETHING!) and answering the doorbell ad nauseum are not the sorts of things that sit right for us shut-ins!

Luckily, there’s relief on the way. The days after that eerie eve are golden, rather than orange, and time can once again be spent on what’s really important: spending time with your favorite Autumn troubadour, MC Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger.

Taylor is one of the most accomplished yarn spinners working today and is the perfect accompaniment to a post-Hallows anxiety hangover. And the marvelous Merge Records will release Devotion: Songs About Rivers and Spirits and Children, a 4CD/LP boxset from Hiss Golden Messenger, on November 2. Coming a year-and-a-bit on from his last proper record, Hallelujah Anyhow, the timing couldn’t be better to revisit Taylor’s earlier works.

Collecting (remastered) past efforts Bad Debt (2010), Poor Moon, and Haw in one spot (each is being released on their own as well), Devotion… is a perfect Hiss Golden Messenger primer and features full lyrics, new album artwork devised by Taylor and Sam Smith (no, not that fucking Sam Smith), and notes by heavyweight journos John Mulvey (Mojo) and Amanda Petrusich (The New Yorker). The inevitable centerpiece of this boxset, however, is the fourth disc, Virgo Fool, which comprises an 11-song compendium of rarities that is only available as a DL and (physically) as part of this set!

Pre-order the lavish Devotion: Songs About Rivers and Spirits and Children box from your chosen brand here and listen to Virgo Fool’s opener, “Rock Holy”, below. Tracklists and tour dates follow. Hallelujah not Halloweenjah!


Bad Debt tracks:

01. Balthazar’s Song
02. No Lord Is Free
03. Bad Debt
04. O Little Light
05. Straw Man Red Sun River Gold
06. Far Bright Star
07. The Serpent Is Kind (Compared to Man)
08. Call Him Daylight
09. Jesus Shot Me in the Head
10. Super Blue (Two Days Clean)
11. Roll River Roll
12. Drum

Poor Moon tracks:

01. Blue Country Mystic
02. Call Him Daylight
03. Drummer Down
04. Under All the Land
05. Westering
06. Pittsboro Farewell (Two Monarchs)
07. Super Blue (Two Days Clean)
08. Jesus Shot Me in the Head
09. O Little Light
10. A Working Man Can’t Make It No Way
11. Dreamwood
12. Balthazar’s Song

Haw tracks:

01. Red Rose Nantahala
02. Sufferer (Love My Conqueror)
03. I’ve Got a Name for the Newborn Child
04. Hat of Rain
05. Devotion
06. The Serpent Is Kind (Compared to Man)
07. Sweet as John Hurt
08. Cheerwine Easter
09. Hark Maker (Glory Rag)
10. Busted Note
11. What Shall Be (Shall Be Enough)

Virgo Fool tracks:

01. Rock Holy
02. Black Country Woman
03. Joyce & Joel
04. Lion/Lamb
05. Father Sky
06. Issa
07. Back to the River Again
08. Tell Everyone
09. Karen’s Blues
10. The Revenant
11. Hard Promises

Hiss Golden Messenger tour:

09.20.18 - Marfa, TX - Trans-Pecos Festival
09.24.18 - Mill Valley, CA - Sweetwater Music Hall
09.25.18 - Santa Cruz, CA - The Catalyst
09.26.18 - Berkeley, CA - Cornerstone Berkeley
09.27.18 - Los Angeles, CA - Lodge Room
09.30.18 - Dana Point, CA - Ohana Music and Arts Festival
10.05.18 - Nashville, TN - The Ryman #
11.16.18 - Durham, NC - Carolina Theatre
12.13.18 - Richmond, VA - The Broadberry
12.14.18 - Hamden, CT - Space Ballroom
12.15.18 - Providence, RI - Columbus Theatre
12.17.18 - Boston, MA - The Sinclair
12.18.18 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg
12.19.18 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
12.20.18 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
12.21.18 - Charlottesville, VA - Jefferson Theater

# John Prine

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