Chris Hillman (from the album The Asylum Years available on Omnivore Recordings)
The 1976 recording for Chris Hillman’s solo debut, Slippin’ Away, packed the recording studio with heavy hitters that included members of Booker T & The M.G.;s, Poco, Buffalo Springfield, and The Turtles along with A-List LA studio musicians. Chris Hillman carried credentials into his solo outing as a founding member and crucial ingredient in the careers of groups such as The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and Souther-Hillman-Furay Band. Omnivore Records puts Slippin’ Away (1976) with the 1977 release Clear Sailin’ into one package with the album The Asylum Years. Sonically, Chris Hillman plays along with 1970’s California Country, a style he equally influenced and sources on Slippin’ Away. Of his previous musical encounters, Slippin’ Away resembles Chris’ time in Souther-Hillman-Furay Band as the album mixes era-defining Country Rock and call/response harmonies. Country-slide guitars (“Take It on the Run”), delicate Folk-Rock ballads (“Love is the Sweetest Amnesty”), Caribbean Island rhythms (“Down in the Churchyard”), and a shaky west coast rumble steers for “Midnight Again” as Chris Hillman strums his way into Slippin’ Away with “Step on Out” and lets the plea match the pace asking “(Take Me in Your) Lifeboat”.
A little more Country tempers the tones of Clear Sailin’, the songs tender front porch Folk as Chris Hillman rips a relationship down the middle in “Quits” while he puts a soulful backbeat underneath “Paying the Fool”, adds in horns for the honky tonk Saturday night of “Lucky in Love”, and shares a piano bench with lonely in “Heartbreaker”. The music of Clear Sailin’ sets a course towards a full-on Country future with west coast players in Desert Rose Band, co-founded by Chris Hillman in 1985. The rhythms of “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” lap like waves against the track as Clear Sailin’ shimmies on a Bluesy country sway in “Nothing Gets Through” and drifts on a smooth sea for the title track as Chris Hillman shrugs off blame in “Fallen Favorite” and asks a memory of old lovers to hop on board the western Country breeze of “Hot Dusty Roads”.
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