Perhaps it’s not too early to start listening to holiday music, after all: M.C. Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger announced a “new kind of holiday album,” O Come All Ye Faithful, out Friday, October 22 on Merge Records. The news is accompanied by a single from the album, “Grace.” 

A kitschy holiday album is not out of step for most musicians, but O Come All Ye Faithful cleaves to the quieter, more soulful sounds of the season, with lush, spacious droning and contributions from Aoife O’Donovan, Nathaniel Rateliff, Erin Rae, Buddy Miller, and members of M.C. Taylor’s extended family. 

“Big, brash holiday music—the type that we hear in big-box stores in the middle of December—has never resonated with me, and this past year it felt absolutely dissonant,” Taylor wrote in a note about the album. “I wanted to make a seasonal record that felt more in step with the way that I, and so many others, experience this time of year: quiet, contemplative, searching, and bittersweet.”

Taylor’s last album, Quietly Blowing Itwas released just this past June

O Come All Ye Faithful, Taylor writes in the album notes, was written and conceptualized during the “chaotic fall months of 2020” as a “meditation on grace, loss, hope, and community.” The nine-track album contains new songs as well as traditional carols and new renditions of songs by Spiritualized, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Woody Guthrie.

The ambitious project—par for the course for Taylor—contains both the standalone album and a remixed, reinvented version, The Sounding Joy, by Cameron Ralston, who is partnering with Taylor in a new project called Revelators. 

Watch “Grace”—a single that Taylor writes is “about keeping a light for those that are struggling or lost or confused or grieving: the gone ones, our children, poets, teachers”—out now below. 

YouTube video

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