Rounder Records [Release date 22.09.17]
‘Bidin’ My Time’ marks the first solo album from one of the Byrds founding members Chris Hillman in over twelve years. On this album he has long time fan Tom Petty handling production, along with Hillman’s Desert Rose collaborator Herb Pederson.
The album starts with a new recording of Pete Seeger’s and Idris Davies’ ‘The Bells of Rhymney,’ which the Byrds recorded for their debut album. Joining in on the harmony vocals is fellow Byrds member David Crosby. In fact it is a pretty guest heavy album including Roger McGuinn, the aforementioned Tom Petty and most of the Heartbreakers – Mike Campbell, Steve Ferrone, and Benmont Tench.
Another Byrds link is the bluegrass influenced ‘New Old John Robertson’, which is a sequel of sorts the Byrds’ ‘Old John Robertson’. The tale of a old man is touching and the vocals hold your attention.
Of the newer songs ‘Such Is The World That We Live In’ is a timely plea for more forgiveness in the world, made all the more stronger by the gospel like arrangement.
Not only does Tom Petty appear on the album, Chris Hillman sings a sterling cover of one of Petty’s more mellower tunes, ‘Wildflowers’. One of the album’s stand outs due to the singing, pure bliss on the ears. Speaking of covers, Hillman does a lovely version of the Everly Brothers classic ‘Walk Right Back’. The Everly Brothers and their country infused being an influence on the Byrds.
It is heartening to see Chris Hillman still in fine voice and revisiting some songs from his past to give them another chance in the limelight. Pretty damn fine throughout, the album highlights Chris Hillman’s love and passion at making memorable and enjoyable country music. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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