“Jesus Shot Me in the Head” (REVIEW)

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My favorite songwriter in the world right now who ISN’T named Ryan Adams (and divorcing Mandy Moore) is MC Taylor, half of the great cowpunk act Hiss Golden Messenger.  HGM has released several albums: Lateness of Dancers (2014), Haw (2013), and Poor Moon (2012) among them.

Taylor’s voice is incredible.  The recordings are amazing, not the least for their use ambient noise.  (Some of his tracks were recorded in his kitchen, with the sounds of frogs and rain wafting in from his property in North Carolina, and his newborn baby son sleeping in a crib in the next room.)

As a guitarist, he reminds me of Paul Simon; very inventive use of the limitations inherent in the acoustic guitar.

But the melodies, and especially the lyrics, are where the meat is.  My favorite song, a perceptive look at Christian conversion from a new convert who’s not sure what he thinks about it, is “Jesus Shot Me in the Head” (from Poor Moon).  ASTONISHING lyrics:


Out and down from Nazareth town, with all those mistakes I made,

God is good and it’s understood that he moves in mysterious ways.
He saw it all, my folderol, my rough and rowdy friends,
In fact, I was getting wrecked in a Motel 6 when he showed up in the back.
So goodbye sweet Jim Beam, now goodbye my Tulsa friends,
Hey, hey, everybody, did you hear the news? Jesus shot me in the head!
Just as well, I was going to Hell, got wasted and everything,
No more shooting pool, no more getting drunk, now I’m going to see the King.
Now I’m on the road again, yes, I’m on the road again,
No more rolling down that wicked track, I’m going to see the King.
Oh, Lord, I need a hand, Oh, Lord, I need a hand;
So don’t be late at those pearly gates, c’mon and let me in.
I spent some time in Jerusalem, where I tried my best to behave;
I told the town and they cut him down, and he rose up from the grave.
Could you believe they laughed and me?  They would not let him be.
Next thing I know, I’m skipping stones on the Sea of Galilee.
Now I’m on the road again, yes, I’m on the road again,
No more rolling down that wicked track, I’m going to see the King.
Oh, Lord, I need a hand, Oh, Lord, I need a hand;
So don’t be late at those pearly gates, c’mon and let me in.
Now I’m recovering, the chosen one, he calls on us in thanks;
He loves us all, but the ones who fall hold a special place in his ranks.
At least I hope this is how it goes, ‘cuz I’m just about out of breath,
So hey, everybody, did you hear the news? Jesus shot me in the head!
Now I’m on the road again, yes, I’m on the road again,
No more rolling down that wicked track, I’m going to see the King.
Oh, Lord, I need a hand, Oh, Lord, I need a hand;
So don’t be late at those pearly gates, c’mon and let me in.

This is a heck of an artist; a lot of Dylan, a lot of Merle Haggard, a unique voice and approach.  HGM is well worth checking out.

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