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School Daze: A fundraiser for Durham Public Schools students

by Hiss Golden Messenger

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about

Back in March, we released a live record, recorded in January of 2020 at the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, NC, called Forward, Children. All proceeds from the sale of that record benefit the Durham Public Schools Foundation, an organization in our city that advocates for public students, teachers, and staffers. At that time, the coronavirus pandemic had only recently changed life as we know it, and many students who depended on school for many of their daily meals were struggling with food insecurity in the wake of school closures. The DPS Foundation was on the front lines of the effort to feed our most vulnerable kids, spearheading food donations and distribution throughout the city of Durham. Having been a volunteer to load school buses with food bound for different distribution centers in town, I can say that the work the DPS Foundation did was absolutely essential and deeply inspiring. To see just how many buses we were loading full of food every day—to understand the lack and the need throughout Durham—was breathtaking in a different way.

It’s now September of 2020 and, with no comprehensive federal strategy in place, the coronavirus still rages. Durham Public Schools students are now learning remotely, which raises a whole new host of issues: Do all students have a strong enough internet connection? Do they have an internet connection at all? Do students—particularly younger children—have an adult to help them navigate to the places that they need to be online in order to participate in class? Remote learning has foregrounded issues of educational equity in ways that are sharp and unrelenting, and has placed an undue burden on immigrant, Black, and Latinx families. Once again, the Durham Public Schools Foundation has stepped into the breach with their campaign to Accelerate Digital Equity that focuses on technical support and digital literacy, training, and equipment needs among students and their families within the city of Durham.

I say this often from the stage: I have public education in my blood. Both of my parents, my sister, and my wife are all public educators. My kids go to public schools in Durham. My entire life, I’ve watched the ways that public education has changed the lives of the people involved with it, both students and teachers. It’s safe to say that I wouldn’t do what I do now without the love and support of public schoolteachers. So I feel it’s my duty to give back. To that end, I’m proud to announce the release of School Daze, a new Hiss Golden Messenger live record to benefit the Durham Public Schools Foundation. The 15 tracks on this album—none of which are repeats from Forward, Children—are drawn from Hiss performances at some of our favorite clubs in Asheville, Denver, Toronto, and Seattle, and they show us doing what we do best: grooving deep through a selection of some of our favorites and taking the songs, and fans, to whole new places. If you liked Forward, Children—my mom said it was her favorite Hiss album—you’re going to love School Daze. Put it on loud in a dark room, pour yourself a drink, hug the neck of the person you love. It just might feel like you were there.

My thanks to public educators around the country who have been forced to reinvent their jobs in the blink of an eye, figuring out how to teach and convey love to their students through a computer screen. You are heroes.

Public education is a civil rights issue. Black lives matter. Brown lives matter. Trans lives matter. Vote.

—M.C. Taylor, Durham, NC

credits

released October 2, 2020

M.C. Taylor – Guitars & Singing
Phil Cook – Keys, Guitars & Singing
Chris Boerner – Guitar
Alex Bingham – Bass Guitar & Singing
Al Smith – Drums & Percussion
Brevan Hampden – Tambourine
Erin Rae – Vocals

Recorded and Mixed by Luc Suer.
Mastered by Chris Boerner at The Kitchen in Carrboro.
Art & Design by Darryl Norsen, D.Norsen Design.
Cover photograph by Natalie Simpson.
The shows that these performances are taken from would not have been possible without the help of Ellowyn Kane and Jocelyn Romo.

Many thanks to all who generously helped in the creation of this album, including Luc Suer, Chris Boerner, Brent Lambert at The Kitchen, Merge Records, and Darryl Norsen. Thanks to Brian Schwartz, Rachel Miller, and the whole 7S family, and to Adam Voith.

Hiss Golden Messenger is proud to support the Durham Public Schools Foundation.
All proceeds from this album support students in the Durham Public Schools system.

DEFEND PUBLIC SCHOOLS

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