Time Between: My Life as a Byrd ...
By: Chris Hillman - BMG Books, $26.99
Description: As a co-founder of The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers, Chris Hillman is arguably the primary architect of what is come to be known as country rock.
He went on to record and perform in various configurations, including as a member of Stephen Stills Manassas and as a co-founder of The Souther-Hillman-Furay Band.
In the 1980s he formed The Desert Rose Band, scoring eight Top 10 Billboard country hits. He has released a number of solo efforts, including 2017s highly acclaimed Bidin My Time the final album produced by the late Tom Petty.
In Time Between, Hillman shares his quintessentially Southern Californian experience, from an idyllic, rural 1950s childhood; to achieving worldwide fame thanks to hits such as Mr. Tambourine Man, Turn! Turn! Turn! and Eight Miles High; to becoming the first musician to move to Laurel Canyon.
Verdict: After a Forward and an Introduction, both of which reestablish who Hillman is, what he did, what he aspired to be and what he achieved for all those less informed, it opens with a young Hillman having his rifle (a Daisy Red Rider BB Gun, to be more exact) snatched out of his hands by his father, after having just shot the family beagle in the butt!
It was 1952 and Hillman was only 8-years old, but growing up there in Rancho Santa Fe, California, even then (aside from the BB Gun incident) there was something magical as he himself puts it, about growing up in a Post-World War II, American small town of population just 750.
From there we follow Hillmans trail through his school days, how a Hopalong Cassiday (the fictional cowboy hero created in 1904) hat had him quickly fall in love with all-things Cowboy on screen, his Christian Science encounters, and amongst a host of other things how artists such as Little Richard and Chuck Berry first opened his eyes to rock n roll!
It details how Hillman became known in San Diegos folk music community as a solid player which ultimately led him to join his first band, the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers. The band lasted barely two years, recording only one album (Blue Grass Favorites, which was distributed in supermarkets), however, it has a posthumous reputation as the spawning ground for a number of musicians who went on to play in the Eagles, the Flying Burrito Brothers, the Byrds, Hearts & Flowers, and the Country Gazette.
We also learn that a frustrated Hillman actually considered quitting music and enrolling at UCLA when he received an offer from The Hillmens former manager and producer, Jim Dickson, to join Jim (later Roger) McGuinn, David Crosby, Gene Clark and Michael Clarke in a new band, The Byrds.
Hillman was recruited to play bass guitar, although he had never picked up the instrument before. Thanks to his bluegrass background, he quickly developed his own melodic style on the instrument.
As we all know by now, The Byrds first single, a jangly cover of Bob Dylans Mr. Tambourine Man, was an international hit and marked the birth of folk rock; and during the mid-1960s the Byrds ranked as one of the most successful and influential American pop groups; they recorded a string of hits.
Loving full of behind-the-scenes insights on his time in The Byrds, his productive but sometimes complicated relationship with Gram Parsons, his role in launching the careers of Buffalo Springfield and Emmylou Harris, and the ups and downs of life in various bands, music is only part of his story here, trust me.
For within the pages of Time Between: My Life as a Byrd, Burrito Brother, and Beyond, Hillman reveals the details of his personal life with candor and vulnerability, writing honestly about the shocking tragedy that struck his family when he was a teenager, his subsequent struggles with anger, and how his spiritual journey led him to a place of deep faith that allowed him to extend forgiveness and experience wholeness.
Simply put, Chris Hillman is much more than a rock star. He is truly a founding father of American music and a man who has faced down the challenges of life to discover what really matters.
About the Author: Chris Hillman is a four-time Grammy nominee, three-time CMA award nominee, three-time ACM award winner, and inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a found member of The Byrds.
The recipient of both the Americana Music Associations Lifetime Achievement Award and Mojo magazines Roots Award, the country rock pioneer has been making music for nearly six decades.
He lives in Ventura, California, with his wife Connie.
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