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Chris Hillman

Bidin' My Time – 2017 (Rounder)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Chris Hillman

With all the memorable music Chris Hillman created with The Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers and Desert Rose Band, he has nothing left to prove. He's a both a bona fide rock and country icon. Tom Petty, who owes an obvious debt to Hillman's Byrds (the Heartbreakers would never have brought the jangle hard and heavy, had The Byrds not first created the original template, and Tom Petty produced) appropriately produced this wonderful new country-rock collection.

The album opens with a lovely cover of The Byrds' "Bells of Rhymney," which features Desert Rose Band alum Herb Pederson and fellow original Byrd David Crosby on backing vocals. The Byrds are saluted once again with "She Don't Care About Time."

The album also includes plenty of country songs, including the contented title track, as well as the appropriately (and more positively) discontented "Restless." These two songs, as well as "Given All I Can See" and "Such Is the World We Live In," each implicitly and explicitly express Hillman's strong Christian faith. There are bluegrass elements running through this album, and Christianity has always played a big role in bluegrass songwriting. But these songs are much too personal to just be mere genre exercises. He's singing from his sanctified heart.

Along with Hillman songs, both old and new, there also are a few memorable covers. He takes on the Everly Brothers' "Walk Right Back," and closes with "Wildflowers," one of the prettiest songs his producer Petty has ever written.

Thank goodness Hillman is still a restless artist. "Bidin' My Time" reveals how there's still a whole lot wonderful music left in this restless old soul.