Hiss Golden Messenger at The Crepe Place
Weeks ago, I saw that Hiss Golden Messenger was scheduled to perform on November 10th at the small Santa Cruz venue, The Crepe Place. It seemed like it could be an ideal winter show: a spare acoustic performance by frontman M.C. Taylor whose songs have questioning lyrics that are ideal for this season when thoughts turn inward.
What I and the dozen others experienced at Hiss Golden Messenger’s performance was something far different but equally suited to the season: a bunch of crockpot country funk songs seasoned by a full band including the stellar Scott Hirsch on bass and a ripping Phil Cook on guitar and organ. The set was surprisingly hearty and sustaining like a good stew or chili.
At times, the band had shades of J.J. Cale’s sly guitar grooves. Near the end of their set, the group did a version of Waylon Jenning’s superb country classic “Lonesome, On’ry and Mean” in their unique style. The show ended with the band getting in the crowd and playing their song “Drum” with Taylor instigating the crowd to sing the lines: “Take the good news/ And spirit it away.” It was a truly powerful and communal experience.