West Coast Country Legend Chris Hillman Readies Tom Petty-Produced “Bidin’ My Time”
2017 has already seen a new dose of West Coast country, and with the help of one of the Heartbreakers when Marty Stuart released Way Out West earlier this year with long-time Tom Petty guitarist Mike Campbell in the producer seat. Now Tom Petty himself and a host of other cool folks have come together to collaborate on Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers alumnus Chris Hillman‘s first record in over a decade called Bidin’ My Time.
To be released on September 22nd, 2017 via Rounder Records, and produced by Tom Petty, Bidin’ My Time finds Hillman working with fellow Byrds David Crosby and Roger McGuinn, Herb Pederson (who Hillman was in the Desert Rose Band with), Petty and fellow Heartbreakers Mike Campbell, Steve Ferrone, and Benmont Tench, as well as Mark Fain, Josh Jové, Gabe Witcher, Jay Dee Maness, and John Jorgenson.
The album includes a collection of songs from in and around Chris Hillman’s career, but many that fell through the cracks in one way or another. It includes Pete Seeger’s and Idris Davies’ “The Bells of Rhymney,” which appeared on the very first Byrds record, and is Hillman’s favorite song from that era. “I decided to cut it again because I wanted to sing with David [Crosby] and Herb [Pederson], two great tenors,” Hillman says. “David just loves Herb’s singing, and at 75 years old, David is still a powerful singer — one of the best I’ve ever worked with or been around.”
“Here She Comes Again” was co-written by Chris Hillman with Roger McGuinn, but heretofore only appeared on a live album from The Byrds in Australia. “She Don’t Care About Time” was a Gene Clark tune, and was overlooked as the B-side to the super hit “Turn! Turn! Turn!” The album also includes a reworking of “Old John Robertson” into “New Old John Robertson,” a rendition of The Everly Brothers’ Walk Right Back,” and Tom Petty’s “Wildflowers” among other selections.
“I did everything I felt was right in the moment,” Hillman says about the new album. “I did my very best. That’s all any of us can do.”
jessie with the long hair
July 6, 2017 @ 7:36 pm
This will be great! Hillman has never received as much credit as Gram Parsons but he is equally as important. He co-wrote many of the great Burrito Brothers tunes and he is the one who actually discovered Emmy Lou and turned Gram on to her. Also, Jay Dee Manes played steel on “Sweethearts of the Rode” and for Desert Rose Band, and a million others. John Jorgensen was in Desert Rose too. This will be ten times better than the Marty Stuart record which I don’t really care for. These are the originators of the California Country/Rock and Folk/Rock sound.
July 6, 2017 @ 9:24 pm
Right on, appreciate the insight. On my radar to check out and look into.
July 6, 2017 @ 9:58 pm
I always thought gram got lyold green to do the sessions for sweethearts, but the more you know I guess.
jessie with the long hair
July 7, 2017 @ 5:50 am
You are right about Lloyd Green. They both have been credited for playing on “Sweethearts.” Maness also played on the “International Submarine Band” album.
July 6, 2017 @ 7:54 pm
This got my attention!
I love Petty’s work in Mudcrutch. Although, as I wrote that, I realize that’s a different kind of twang.
I’ll definitely be checking this out!
July 6, 2017 @ 8:01 pm
Hillman’s last quote is exactly what my dad used to teach me. Work as hard as you can and if anyone bitches they can fuck off
July 7, 2017 @ 12:56 am
Looking forward to this one .
And although slightly off topic , David Crosby’s most recent solo record blew my socks off . Not only is he in excellent form vocally ( as Hillman observes above ) you will not hear fresher , more original -sounding ACTUAL PEOPLE -PLAYED AND ARRANGED music in these times . I believe his son was quite involved …but bottom line , for me , is that Crosby’s creative spark still , thankfully , burns as bright as ever as does his ability to deliver the goods both as writer and performer .
BTW , the record SOUNDS incredible also .
July 7, 2017 @ 4:37 am
Chris Hillman has always been a gem.
This is exciting.
July 7, 2017 @ 5:11 am
A long time Chris Hillman fan here. As previously pointed out, Hillman was the twin tower to Gram in the Flying Burrito Brothers and co-wrote many of that band’s better tracks. Chris slowly became a better singer during his time in the Byrds, he opened up a lot more especially after Gene Clark departed the group. After the Burritos, Hillman’s musicianship impressed Stephen Stills who recruited him into Manassas, a side project from CSN&Y, that released two albums of material. Then there was the one-off acoustic Byrds reunion record, followed by the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band, a group that should have fared better with album sales and radio airplay. When that super-group splintered, Chris teamed up with former Byrds-mates Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark as McGuinn-Clark-Hillman for one or two records (before Clark split) and one minor Top 40 hit. McGuinn and Hillman gave it one more shot and called it quits. From there, Chris did a couple solo albums before forming the Desert Rose Band which garnered some Top 40 country music hits and radio time. Then Chris knocked around for awhile and recorded a couple Bakersfield styled albums with Herb Pederson. Now its time for Chris to put all of this together on one album. With the listed song track, and guest musicians, this album oughta be Super Fantastic!
July 7, 2017 @ 5:17 am
Very, very excited by this one. What an assemblage of creativity and talent, and great to have it documented with this release so late in their careers. Over the years, he’s graced us with so much music rich both in originality and in respect to tradition. One minor disappointment: based on numbers posted to iTunes, it looks like the whole affair will total about 33 minutes. But I suppose that’s in line with what most of these artists would have released in their heyday.
July 7, 2017 @ 5:18 am
Many thanks for this article Trigger, and for two reasons. One reason is of course, the fact that I loved The Birds, Chris Hillman, Gram Parson and The Flying Burrito Brothers and The Eagles.
The second reason is, sorry to start nagging about FAK again, but after hearing the two “new” songs I at first thought they were very “poppy”.
But now when I watched that video, I suddenly realized that they haven’t gone more pop but instead they have added more, (70’s), rock to their sound. and modernized it a bit. (If the rest of the album sound like this, that is)
And they’ve always liked Gram and the 70’s sound in general.
I remember this video from 2010, ,when they were still quite amateurish”, singing “Devil in Disguise”.And Klara seems unusually nervous … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVPJCZ3kXHQ
I’ve been very worried that they would start doing more modern pop. For Gods know that many are naggin on them saying they should become more “modern”.
But now I feel more relieved. I even start looking forward to the release of the album.But still a lttle bit worry though…
July 7, 2017 @ 5:27 am
It’s funny how music has changed. I remember my stepdad scoffing at The Eagles being called “country” (he was a rock guy) 15-20 years ago. I would contend that today they would be too country and get 0 airplay. I’m currently in the midst of watching a Tom Petty documentary and I’m wondering the same thing about his music too. It’s crazy how Hank, Strait, AJ, Cash, Haggard none of these guys would have a shot today in country. At all.
BTW Petty was on Y2K country on Sirius the other day…why? So funny. I like him but I mean really? He called bro music a really bad version of 80s rock, right???
July 7, 2017 @ 8:18 am
For an idea of how Mr. Petty could inject C&W influences into his sound, try his 1994 track “Girl On LSD”:
As for this project that Petty is doing with Chris Hillman–well, what can one say? This sounds like a pretty big deal, especially in the context of Hillman’s own history, and that of the entire California country-rock movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s that he was a part of, and which is not all that well understood (IMHO).
July 7, 2017 @ 7:47 pm
There is a music festival in my city this week. My 15 year old is going. Petty is there, I asked if she was going to catch him. “Dad, he’s country”. I played Even the Losers later and she was still on the fence.
He was pretty twangy, and that works for me. I love the Stones when they get the twang lose.
July 7, 2017 @ 8:51 pm
I think the two Mudcrutch albums are my favorite Petty stuff (or stuff from the era rediscovered).
July 7, 2017 @ 11:39 pm
see …the thing is , Justin …the guys you mentioned were authentic , sincere , unique artists and sang stuff that meant something to themselves AND all of us . They were not trend -chasers , lane -jumpers , fashion mavens , yes-men for labels and they were not trying to be something they inherently weren’t in order to sell themselves or their wares . And THAT is why they may not “”have a shot in today’s country at all ” ….not because they weren’t worthy or capable but because today’s listeners have been conditioned to buy into acts for whom ( with very very few exceptions ) integrity , authenticity and artistic vision are foreign concepts . A listener is being cheated of the authentic experience a Merle Haggard , a John Cash and a Hank Williams gave listeners of their eras . There is so little authenticity or vision present in ANY contemporary country that it would be considered a downright hilarious parody if it weren’t so bloody sad !
July 9, 2017 @ 8:12 pm
Hey Albert, so well put.
And I totally agree about bro-country sounding like bad 80’s rock!
Back in the day, I think I (subconsciously) categorised acts like the Eagles, Poco and perhaps even the Burritos as vehicles for making Country more palatable to rock fans. Yet, now I think many of today’s self-proclaimed country acts cannot even come close to those bands’ authenticity as Country performers. I think you’d agree, the meter has swung a long way across the dial for anyone to think like that!
Having said all that, I must add that this new Chris Hillman (& friends) release sounds like a real refresher.
July 7, 2017 @ 7:10 am
July 7, 2017 @ 11:51 am
Looking forward to Hillman, Pederson and Jorgenson coming to my area on September 21. Check the calendar to see if they’re coming to yours.
July 12, 2017 @ 7:20 am
Reading this site always seems to lead to a trip down to my basement to thumb through the albums. Headed there now. I know there is at least on Hillman solo from Sugar Hill down there and wondering how many of the other groupings I’ve semi forgotten about I will find!