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Hallelujah: Hiss Golden Messenger headlines Tipitina's 

M.C. Taylor's outfit returns to New Orleans Nov. 17

click to enlarge hissgoldenmessengerpress.jpg

There's something incredibly gratifying about M.C. Taylor's late-blooming success as Hiss Golden Messenger. The first time I heard his recent output, I randomly flashed back to another country-ish band, The Court & Spark, whose songs felt as comfortable as a favorite pair of blue jeans and whose vocals draped like an arm around your shoulder. It turns out Taylor is that voice — he and Scott Hirsch, along with a supporting cast of ever-patient players, were The Court & Spark. They were based in San Francisco then, and the overall affect of definitive release Bless You (2001) is decidedly West Coast, an extinguishing dip in the Pacific rather than a blinding Atlantic rebirth. Similarly and differently, there's no confusing the Carolinian origins of this sequel. Everything from the guitars to Taylor's singing — once a baritone ringer for Richard Buckner, now more often an idiosyncratic crossbreed of Van Morrison and Bob Dylan — is pitched higher, and it all feels more lively, reunion tunes instead of a departure score. The new Hallelujah Anyhow (Merge) plays like sides three and four to 2016 stomper Heart Like a Levee, on which everything appealing about Taylor's music locked into place. It's hard to make a band or a record sound this easy, and he's now done both twice. Tickets $15.

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