It’s hard to write a review of the new Chris Hillman album because it can quickly turn into a bio about the mind-blowing career that the man has had, from his time in The Byrds to the Flying Burrito Brothers to the Desert Rose Band. There’s also the fact that you can make a good argument that he helped birth country rock — the good country rock, by the way, not the commercial radio drivel. Hillman is a living legend and to top it off he’s basically a local.
Hillman’s latest release, and first in 12 years, Bidin’ My Time, has been receiving a surprising amount of attention for two reasons. Number one (and sadly), it was produced by the late, great Tom Petty. Number two, it’s one of the best records of the year.
There are countless great moments on the 12-track release. Gems include “Here She Comes Again,” a Byrds rarity never released before; the title track, a wonderful campfirelike singalong; “Given All I Can See,” which could easily sum up the current political and social climate; and his moving (now even more so) cover of the Petty classic “Wildflowers.” Simply put, Bidin’ My Time is a masterful record.
Hillman, who turns 73 next week, himself said he never thought he would record again before this record “fell into his lap.” It’ll be a shame if he doesn’t continue. But if this does end up being his recorded swan song, it’s an amazing farewell gift from one of the greats.
Available at www.chrishillman.com.