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Way Out West
     

Way Out West

by Chris Hillman
 
Back in the '70s, a music scribe observed that Chris Hillman had never been part of a bad record. Thirty years later that's still true. Way Out West reunites Byrds/Flying Burrito Brothers vet Hillman with his Desert Rose Band partner Herb

Overview

Back in the '70s, a music scribe observed that Chris Hillman had never been part of a bad record. Thirty years later that's still true. Way Out West reunites Byrds/Flying Burrito Brothers vet Hillman with his Desert Rose Band partner Herb Pedersen, and it's like they never parted. The disc honors all the classic styles -- hard-edged Bakersfield country, bluegrass, New Traditionalist ballads, honky-tonk -- and when it's over, Way Out West takes its place as one of this year's best albums. Pedersen has one of the most affecting tenors in all of music, and it's on grand display here, especially on the Stanley Brothers-redolent bluegrass gospel song "The Old Crossroads," which finds Pedersen in his keening upper range, à la Ralph, and Hillman bringing up the bottom, à la Carter. Hillman & Pedersen do a splendid job of remodeling the Everly Brothers' 1958 pop hit "Problems" as a traditional country tune: Their retooled version boasts fiddles, twangy guitars, and a solid backbeat supporting their close harmonies. Conversely, the Louvin Brothers' heartbreaking kissoff ballad "You're Learning" sticks close to the original's classic country approach. For honky-tonk heartbreakers, it's hard to beat Roger Miller's "Invitation to the Blues," and the harmonies and weeping pedal steel lines here make an exquisite backdrop for Pedersen's heartfelt leads. They close out the set with a buoyant, western-styled ballad, "Good Year," and a nice bit of ensemble picking on "Backporch Boy." With equal parts reverence and soul, Hillman & Pedersen have crafted a western country album of the highest order.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jonathan Widran
Here's the perfect antidote for country fans who mourn the loss of old-school flavors in lieu of the modern polished pop crossover approach. First the pedigrees for those who know the names but can't place them: Hillman is one of the great innovators of California country-rock, with legendary associations including the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Manassas, and other post-Byrds and Burrito lineups featuring former members. Pedersons crystal-clear tenor has graced the work of artists like Vince Gill, Johnny Rivers, and Linda Ronstadt, along with his bands the Dillards and the Laurel Canyon Ramblers. These two met as members of the Desert Rose Band and, all these years later, still apparently love folk, bluegrass, and old country -- styles which make up the bulk of the influences on this easy-going-down project. There are lots of crisp, twangy guitars and a colorful 17-track run featuring familiar themes like love, heartache, and living life the hard way. "Backporch Boy" is an instrumental bluegrass prelude, followed up by traditional honky tonk flavors on the she-done-me-wrong song "There You Go" and "Problems" (the perfect cross of country instrumentation and Everly Brothers harmonies). Other highlights are the lament "Invitation to the Blues" and "Better Man Than That," which sounds like one of those classic, Eagles-flavored early-'70s Southern California classics. There are also gospel elements here and there on pieces like "The Old Cross Roads." Affiliated with Narada and Virgin, Back Porch Records is billed as a roots rock and Americana label, and this disc offers a throwback to various classic styles that are all at once comfortable and challenging.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/04/2002
Label:
Back Porch
UPC:
0724381197820
catalogNumber:
11978

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Chris Hillman   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Vocals
Bill Bryson   Bass,Acoustic Bass
Flaco Jiménez   Accordion
Jay Dee Maness   Pedal Steel Guitar
Jim Monahan   Guitar
Willie Ornelas   Drums
Larry Park   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Herb Pedersen   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals,5-string Banjo
Kenny Blackwell   Acoustic Guitar
Sergio Gonzales   Drums
Dennis "Cannonball" Caplinger   Fiddle
Gabe Witcher   Fiddle
Sharon Soldi   Accordion

Technical Credits

Chris Hillman   Producer
Herb Pedersen   Producer
Johnny Hoyt   Engineer
J. Stanley Johnston   Engineer
J. Stanley Johnson   Engineer

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