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"Combining the smoky and sultry essence reminiscent of a 1950’s lounge singer with the twang of American western music, Hillie Bills’ album “In Tarnation” is a wake-up call to those of us who would like to easily categorize our musical tastes to a few genres.
Autobiographical, yet universal in its appeal, her lyrics resonate with both the casual as well as the careful listener.
Grab a cocktail or your partner!
Hillie Bills will have you searching for the olive in your martini or your two- step partner for the dance floor."
Austerlitz Musical Review No. 1, Vol.1
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Email Hillie@HillieBills.com for access to her press kit.
Anyone who knows Hillie knows that her life has had too many chapters to fit into a handful of socially acceptable words.
She is Hudson Valley-raised, Continentally-bred, Western-minded, Texas-beholden.
Growing up, she was steeped in classical piano training and ecclesiastic song. She sang in some of the world’s most renowned cathedrals well into her college years, at which point (and in a church), she haphazardly stumbled into blues music and wandered away from the harmonic refineries of centuries past and fell enamored of an American sound only recently laid to rest.
At age 23 she attended her first rodeo and from her farmland home in Upstate New York, life took a distinctly philosophical turn to the West. At age 24 she accidentally began writing songs in an effort to express her sentiments on the humorous, joyous, and frequently disappointing adventure known to some as Life. She first moved to Texas at age 27, at which point the songs started writing her.
At age 30, she began performing them.
American Stories: the tales behind 'In Tarnation.'
1. Don't Sell Out Buy In - recounts the tale of a young woman's dreamlike drive to a scene of debauchery-- rife with heroes of Western civilization, and imparting their philosophical mantra.
2. Days of Chalk and Charcoal - tells the archaic parable of "the most timeless story ever told"… a Civil War answer to the Cain and Abel story.
3. One-Eyed Dog - rambles and wanders from Noah's flood to the barrio of San Antonio, where the protagonist, a one-eyed dog named Jacko, was rescued from the Humane Society in 2009.
4. Turkey Vultures - describes scenic elements from real-life, contemporary trailer-park ghost towns, experienced through an exhausted and aimless lens.
5. Lookin' for Lukenbach - shares some bittersweet realities for inhabitants of a Texas town "where the train don't stop."
6. Bad Bad Sex in Texas - recounts a lifetime of bad decisions across the globe.
7. There Ain't - recounts one of those bad decisions, in particular.
8. Inside of the Wind - narrates the elusive and unspeakable nature of a shadow villain who is unable to ever be caught, whose capabilities exceed our meager five senses.
9. Keep it Low - swells from a simple campfire song to an anthem that speaks to the expanse and vulnerability of open space on the range.
10. un epílogo - draws on inspiration from cantina songs of 1940s Hollywood, and attempts to bring peace to an ending devoid of closure
* “In Tarnation” Credits *
Is the result of a lifetime of wandering, adventure and failure…the kindness of friends, family and strangers… and more tears than Hillie would like to admit.
“In Tarnation” was recorded in Tucson, AZ at WaveLab Studios with Craig Schumacher and A Writer’s Room Studio with Duncan Stitt.
Schumacher’s credits include:
Engineering and/or Mixing on on Bob Dylan’s “I’m Not There” soundtrack, Neko Case’s “Fox Confessor Brings the Flood,” Devotchka’s “How It Ends,” Iron & Wine’s “In The Reins” and KT Tunstall’s “Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon.”
Featured musicians on ‘In Tarnation’include:
Winston Watson (Bob Dylan’s “Time Out Of Mind,” “Love and Theft,” “Blonde on Blonde,” “Blood on the Tracks, ” Warren Zevon’s “Reconsider Me: The Love Songs,” Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s “Ultimate Collection.”)
Nick Luca (Neko Case’s “The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight. The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You,” all Calexico albums, Iron & Wine’s “In The Reins,” M. Ward’s “Post-War.”)
Nick Coventry (KT Tunstall’s “Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon.”)