Sunday, August 18, 7pm – $20 (Friends), $24, $28 (DOS)
Pages of Life
He might have been just as happy as a cowboy. Or a surfer. I, for one, am glad Chris Hillman discovered music and listened carefully to that sound in his head that would connect a musically curious generation to country rock back in the late 60’s.
Without Chris Hillman’s influence (The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Manassas, Souther-Hillman-Furay Band, McGuinn Clark & Hillman, McGuinn & Hillman, Desert Rose Band), I’m not sure we’d be listening to the same Avett Brothers or Mumford and Sons we hear today. In the playlist of my life, rock (The Rolling Stones, The Who, etc.) instantly conjures memories of parties, concerts, and good times, man. Country rock (The Byrds, FBB, Poco, Pure Prairie League, etc.) will forever be connected to falling in (and out) of love.
The hardest part of interviewing, IMHO, is trying not to bore the interviewee, especially when they fall into legendary status. Rock and roll history is right there on the line and you’d rather chew pencils than pitch out the same old questions they’ve heard over and over and over, ad nauseam. I decided that if he wanted to talk about The Byrds and Gram Parsons that he was going to have to bring them up. It was a good call on my part.
He started right off by saying “They say some of the best banjo players come out of North Carolina.” Ok, I’m good with where this is going so far.
I knew I wanted to talk about the new crop of young bands joyfully incorporating traditional string music into their current sound. Alt-country, I think they call it. Whatever.
We went in a dozen directions – R&B songs to religion, songwriting to great American novels, heroin to herding cattle – none of them predictable, but all of them connected by a common thread – Chris Hillman himself. After five minutes I felt like I’d been talking with him for hours and he comes across as one of the nicest guys you ever want to meet. Plus he even broke into song several times. I mean, you have to be respectful of a man who can casually mention David (Crosby) without it seeming the least little bit pretentious or bragging. It actually didn’t even take long before we were talking about Gram. But you have to read the entire Q&A for the whole story.
Chris and Herb Pedersen have known one another for 50 years, but didn’t play together in a group until the Desert Rose Band. With all those years, talent, and multi-stringed instruments between them, it’s a given that they’d make beautiful music together and that they’d share that with the appreciative audience that would be us.