Chris Hillman co-founded some of the most classic, seminal, groundbreaking acts of the ’60s and ’70s including the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Manassas, and the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band. But, in the mid 1970s, he decided it was time to try things on his own.
The 20-track The Asylum Years compilation, to be released on February 9, 2018 by Omnivore Recordings, combines Hillman’s two Asylum LPs on one CD for the first time.
1976 brought Slippin’ Away, the musical journeyman’s first solo release. Produced by renowned engineers Ron andHoward Albert (Derek and the Dominos, Allman Brothers, Jimi Hendrix), it was a star-studded affair, featuring members of Booker T. & the M.G.’s, Poco, Buffalo Springfield, the Turtles, and ace studio musicians. Hillman took his place as frontman, and the results were the epitome of the classic ’70s L.A. sound.
He returned the following year with Clear Sailin’, which saw him dial back the flashy supporting cast for a more traditional release, sounding much like the iconic music he had created in his early years with the Byrds and Burritos. For Clear Sailin’ Hillman assembled a core band (including soon-to-be-superstar Richard Marx) with production helmed by Jim Mascon (Poco, Firefall). A number of songs feature co-writes with Crawdaddy magazine’s founder, Peter Knobler.
Hot on the heels of Hillman’s 2017 critically acclaimed album Bidin’ My Time (produced by Tom Petty), The Asylum Years presents both of those ’70s albums on one compact disc, with an essay from Scott Schinder, featuring a new interview with Hillman.
Quoted in Schinder’s liner notes, Hillman revealed: “Doing these records was part of my growing process. Do we ever master our professions? Not really, you’re always learning something. It was with the Desert Rose Band that I really felt that I’d come to a point where I’d put in enough time for it to pay off musically. These records are all steps on that journey, and the journey’s been pretty wonderful.”
Having been a catalyst and innovator on the musical landscape for decades, The Asylum Years sees this Byrd take flight.