Chris Hillman soared with material ranging from his days with The Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers and especially from his most recent album Bidin’ My Time at a captivating 90 minute evening at the Scherr Theatre in Thousand Oaks. It would be easy to turn a concert like this into a time for nostalgia, simply running through Baby Boomer hits, but Hillman would have none of that.
Yes, he’s been on the music scene for over 50 years, having pioneered the genre now called “country rock,” but Hillman, with long time associates Herb Pederson/g, John Jorgenson/g-p and Mark Fain/b demonstrates that his music is more of a worldview than a concert. He’sable to take long standing material such as “Bells Of Rhymney” and “Eight Miles High,” still include wondrous guitar work by Jorgenson’s 12 string, but mix the minstrel sounds with vocal harmonics that reflect an almost liturgical feel to the environment. His songs are a reflection of the simple graces that God has given us, as eternal messages from the Bible (“Turn, Turn Turn”) the importance of family (“Different Rivers”) long lasting love (“Together Again”) and marriage (“What A Minute”) or eternal perspective of current events (“Such is the World”) combine both homespun stories, textured vocals and a relaxed yet adroit musicianship that make both the music and message both timely and timeless.
Even his selection of songs from his most recent album embody an appreciation of life’s tender mercies, as the old timey “Walk Right Back” and most recent “Here She Comes Again” both include Hlllman’s signature clippety clop rhythm of guitar and mandolin strings and trinitarian collection of voices, yet along with “When I Get A Little Money” point to the important values of life.
The sounds emanating for Chris Hillman and his current band made the evening a balm of Gilead for the ears, but the Biblical messages of faith, hope, and above all, love, made the soul dance as well.
Upcoming shows at the Civic Arts Plaza include Chicago 02/18, Karla Bonoff 03/10 and Bria Skonberg 03/18