Chris Hillman – Time Between – My Life As a Byrd, Burrito Brother & Beyond
It isn’t safe to assume that everyone who enjoys music in the 21st Century knows who Chris Hillman is. Though the name may be familiar, it’s never been as recognizable as Bob Dylan, David Crosby, or Leonard Cohen, unless you were a music aficionado familiar with the 60s.
However, Hillman’s history & contribution to country-rock is not to be overlooked. His notoriety, of course, was with The Byrds, then Gram Parsons & The Flying Burrito Brothers, as well as the short-lived Stephen Stills’ band Manassas. As time went by Hillman also formed the mainstream country band Desert Rose that scored 8 Top Ten Billboard country hits.
Chris, who is still an active musician, has written a concise memoir that’s narrated in an easy-going conversational manner. Not necessarily composing a tell-all controversial page-burner but allowing for some highly personal events to be recollected.
Chris explains situations, career decisions made, conflicts with Gram Parsons, his opportunities & luck, how Miles Davis played a role in The Byrds’ success, the failed reunion of The Byrds in 1972, his friendship with Stephen Stills, who really played or didn’t play on which songs (readers will be surprised). He delves into the disastrous English tour, the turbulent Ed Sullivan Show with David Crosby, the departure of Gene Clark, issues with producers, personalities met, & difficulties between playing gigs.
That’s the meat of the book Time Between – My Life As a Byrd, Burrito Brother & Beyond (Drops Nov. 17 – BMG Books). The musician’s lifestyle — its excitement, & though the book is not a downer once the momentum picks up it’s hard to put down.
There is a generous amount of historical information, it details the wonderful relationship Chris had with his grandfather, he reminisces of the early years though brief, is to the point, sometimes sad at times.
As for the text itself, it’s a slow read at the onset but effectively introduces characters in Chris’ early post-WWII life, his neighborhood, the celebrities, the impressions people made on him. Like many books outlining a person’s life, a reader needs to have patience. Sift through the early periods — it’s worth it.
The book’s drawback — it took about 6 chapters to get to the most pivotal, intriguing stuff & take what had been documented earlier to be seen in the context of Hillman’s story.
I had an advance reader’s copy so some omissions may have been corrected for the final release. For instance, the most glaring were no photographs, no discography, or appendix.
Chris Hillman is a 4-time Grammy, 3-time CMA nominee, & a 3-time ACM Award winner, among other awards including the R&R Hall of Fame with The Byrds. His story, if you like music & biographies, is an easy read & an enlightening one.
The 225-page trade sized book is available at Barnes & Noble & https://chrishillman.com/