Sid Hillman Quartet

Sid Hillman Quartet

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Yes, Sid Hillman is the nephew of former Byrd and Flying Burrito Brother Chris Hillman, and yes, his music follows in the same rootsy, country-rock tradition that his uncle helped pioneer. But forget pedigree, for the comparisons end there: The Sid Hillman Quartet's eponymous debut LP conjures a bleak, haunting landscape where the country-rockers of the past would have never dared venture. Hillman's soulful, world-weary vocals and desolate lyrics match well with the group's richly atmospheric arrangements, complete with pedal steel guitars rooted more profoundly in psychedelia than in country. Likewise, the songs take hairpin twists and turns that further wrest them away from genre pigeonholing -- the trumpet solo in "Phillips Avenue" comes seemingly out of nowhere but fits perfectly, while at other moments the controlled fury simmering just under the music's surface seems set to explode.

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