Duke Performances

Music in Your Gardens:
Hiss Golden Messenger

Wednesday, July 1, 2020 | 7:00 pm


We’re proud to present Hiss Golden Messenger as a part of Music in Your Gardens, a free eight-week online concert series showcasing nationally renowned artists who call Durham and the surrounding area home. The series shifts Duke Performances’ longtime summer series, Music in the Gardens, normally held outdoors at Sarah P. Duke Gardens on Duke’s campus, to an online format in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On July 1 at 7 PM ET, we’ll premiere a new, specially recorded performance by Hiss Golden Messenger online, free of charge, on our website and on our YouTube page. The film, pre-recorded in a socially-distanced manner, will be accompanied by a live YouTube chat with Hiss Golden Messenger, who will answer questions from viewers. Before sitting down to watch the performance, click here to read our chat with Hiss Golden Messenger on solitary songwriting and the literature that helps him through it.

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Hiss Golden Messenger is the folk project of Durham musician M.C. Taylor, with a sound that David Bowie — yes, that David Bowie — once called “mystical country, like an eerie yellowing photograph.” Taylor’s latest release is a live album, Forward, Children, whose proceeds will benefit the Durham Public Schools Foundation and aid its COVID-19 relief efforts. Taylor — whose fall tour for his album, Terms of Surrender, likewise supported the Durham Public Schools Foundation — is also a longtime Duke Performances partner artist. In 2015, at Reynolds Industries Theater, he premiered the song cycle Heart Like a Levee, the result of a commission through Duke Performances’ From the Archives initiative. The initiative led Taylor to a series of William Gedney photographs documenting rural Kentucky, housed in Duke’s Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Like a Gedney photograph, the music of Hiss Golden Messenger evokes a vulnerable and sensual form of Americana.

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Hiss Golden Messenger’s ‘Music in Your Gardens’ set was filmed by Ismail Abdelkhalek and John Laww
Video editing: John Laww
Video production: KidEthnic.com

Audio recording and mixing: Ryan Pickett
Audio technician: Christopher Scully-Thurston
Production: Suzanne Despres and Sibyl Kemp
With thanks to Duke Theatre Operations and Duke OIT

Support Hiss Golden Messenger on Bandcamp.

Duke Performances presents Music in Your Gardens in collaboration with Duke Arts, WXDU, Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Duke Continuing Studies, and Duke Summer Session. Hospitality partners include The Palace International and Locopops. Media sponsor: WUNC Music.

Music in Your Gardens: Hiss Golden Messenger


"Taylor’s music turns the most banal of musician woes — the tribulations of life on the road, spending extended periods of time away from family— into gorgeous meditations on love and lack."

Rolling Stone

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