The Existential Country-Soul Quest of Hiss Golden Messenger

M.C. Taylor has been singing about his kids since before they were even born. Before his eldest child, Elijah, arrived in 2009, Taylor — who for the past 10 years or so has made records with a revolving cast of musicians under the moniker Hiss Golden Messenger — wrote a sweet back-porch hymn called “I’ve Got a Name for the Newborn Child.”

But on his new album, Terms of Surrender, the tenor of Taylor’s relationship to his children feels different: more high-stakes, almost desperate at times. In several songs, he carries on
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