Will Chris Hillman's new album be his last?
The former Byrd returns with a new album, with a little help from famous friends, that he says could be his final chapter
As one of the godfathers of country rock, Chris Hillman helped shape the course of Americana through his formidable body of work with The Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Manassas and the Desert Rose Band from the 1960s onwards. More than a decade has passed since his last solo album, but the 72-year-old has just returned with the exceptional Bidin’ My Time album. Produced by Tom Petty, its impressive cast includes The Heartbreakers’ Benmont Tench and Steve Ferrone, plus the two surviving Byrds, David Crosby and Roger McGuinn.
It’s been too long since your last album, 2005’s The Other Side. Why such a long wait?
To be totally honest, I was losing interest. I’ve been doing this since I was seventeen and the travelling was starting to wear on me.
The album was presented to me, really. Herb Pedersen had been singing back-up vocals for Tom [Petty] when he was on the road with Mudcrutch last year. Between them, they conjured up this idea. Tom told me we could record in his studio, but I told him he might not like any of my songs. He said: “No, I trust you.” I was sort of rejuvenated through this process. I guess when you least seek something, it comes to you.