Boomkat Product Review:
**Rustic Americana for followers of Will Oldham, Black Twig Pickers, Lambchop.** "Haw is the name of a river, a modest tributary of the Cape Fear, flowing rocky and swift through 110 miles of Piedmont North Carolina, wending Southeasterly past abandoned and repurposed textile mills, rickety hippie homesteads, and red-clay farmland fringed with pine forests. Green corn in the fields/River running like a wheel. Haw is also one of a few names for a small Siouan tribe that once resided in the eponymous river’s valley and may have alternately known themselves as the Saxapahaw or Sissipahaw. After battling British settlers in the bloody Yamasee War of 1715-17, the Haw disappear from the colonial historical record. Their river remains, rolling on. Haw, herein, is an album of eleven songs about family, faith, and an ill-prophesied future, an artifact almost as archaic, lovely and seldom heard today as directional commands for beasts of burden. M.C. Taylor, who wrote these songs, once lived hard by the Haw with his wife Abigail and their son Elijah—Well I come from the bottom of the river Haw, he sings—but he doesn’t live there anymore. Having followed the slipstream to the relative bustle of nearby Durham, North Carolina, he has composed a new clutch of tunes that conjure the half-remembered dreams of peace promised by our pasts. In the band’s current incarnation, rhythm section stalwarts Terry Lonergan (drums) and Taylor’s longtime musical brother Scott Hirsch (bass, guitar, and production) are joined by Durham multi-instrumentalist Phil Cook of Megafaun, Black Twig Pickers banjoist Nathan Bowles of Blacksburg, and on Telecaster, Nashville’s own William Tyler. Bobby Crow (saxophone), Matt Cunitz (keys), Gordon Hartin (steel guitar), Joseph DeCosimo (fiddle), Sonia Turner (vocals), and Mark Paulson of the Bowerbirds (strings) also crew, navigatingHaw’s shoals of trouble and delight. Lyrically and musically multifarious and freshly urgent, Haw represents Hiss Golden Messenger’s most ambitious and challenging work yet."