In November of last year, Michael Taylor spoke to the INDY about the forthcoming record with his band, Hiss Golden Messenger. Titled Heart Like a Levee, the record was, at least initially, inspired by photographs taken by William Gedney, many of them depicting Americans living a hardscrabble existence while working in a Kentucky mining camp in 1972. Later that month, Taylor and a full band performed the work as a song cycle at Duke’s “From the Archives” series while Gedney’s photographs were projected around the stage area.
Though the album has long been finished, it is now set for an October release, and Taylor has just debuted “Biloxi,” its first single. Somewhat curiously, in his attendant remarks, he stated that the songs had drawn inspiration from his struggles to balance his artistic career and his responsibilities as a father, not so much the Gedney photos.
In any case, “Biloxi” has the golden glint of classic Allman Brothers, with Taylor’s warm, confiding voice rolling over waves of piano and acoustic guitar. The refrain of “It’s hard, Lord/Lord it’s hard” could refer to any kind of hardship—that of a day laborer or a busy father—and it comes off as a weary but unbowed affirmation of the struggle to live and persevere and hold on to hope.
You can listen to the song below, and peruse preorder details on the LP here.