One might assume that the quiet religious current in the music of Hiss Golden Messenger is due to the Durham, North Carolina based band being from the southern United States. Actually, songwriter and frontman M.C. Taylor is originally from Irvine, California. Of course, they also have religion in Irvine, along with hardcore punk bands like Ex-Ignota. Taylor was a member of that group.
Hiss Golden Messenger began in 2007, with the alt-country band's debut album released in 2009. The name has not been clearly explained. Taylor has said that he simply needed a band name, and that he likes the fact that "Hiss Golden Messenger" seems to evoke something, but it's open to interpretation. Plus, he considers the name to be vaguely Biblical.
"Terms of Surrender" is the new album, with Taylor ruminating on his life and his family. He considers the most important theme of the record to be love. Taylor observed via his record label that "love is so powerful that people made religion to give a name to it....I had a dream once...where I heard a voice say 'God is love,' and I felt it with my whole being. This record is a reminder of that dream."