singing + songwriting
Hillie began formal music training as a child in the classical style and Episcopalian ecclesiastic setting. Vocal performance and piano training colored her adolescence and early attendance at Vassar College, where she was selected to perform alongside a small group of peers on a cathedral tour in the UK. By her sophomore year of college, she took a sharp turn South, philosophically, and her interests in classical music paused while she dove into a blues project named Loup Garoux (2002) that combined musical inspiration from Buddy Guy, RL Burnside, and Tom Waits with the vocal inspiration of Mazzy Star, Diana Krall and Sarah Vaughan, and production aesthetics of 1990s-style London-based trip hop.
After the dissolution of Loup Garoux, Hillie went to work in the Promotions department of 100.1 Radio Woodstock, where she garnered a real-time education in the stories and sounds of the American folk revolution.
After weaving in and out of radio work, singing backup vocals at the Nashville FanFair and cultivating an ever-growing fixation with Spaghetti Western films, Hillie finally put pen to paper in 2007 and started writing songs about her beloved desert sand, dusty mules and buried bones.
Seven years after starting to write music and six cross-country moves later, she had her first solo gig in the fantastical Tarantino-esque Elvira's Restaurant in Tubac, AZ. Within a handful of shows it became apparent that Hillie wanted to create a desert-oriented studio album, and she hired the renowned production team (Craig Schumacher) and award-winning studio musicians (credits below) at WaveLab Studios in Tucson, AZ.
After the recording of “In Tarnation”, Hillie spent several years performing professionally in the Big Bend region of Far West Texas… gigging in luxury hotel courtyards, flanked by coyotes on top of mesas, and inside world-class bars built into underground caves. Her music blended seamlessly into the region’s monolithic landscape.
Hillie returned to the northeast in 2016 and focused on a number of other projects as she reconciled her love of the western landscape with her reverence for the orientation and lifestyle of the North Country, including maintaining her radio show on NPR stations in West Texas. In the summer of 2017, she booked residencies and shows throughout the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks, marking her return to live performance. After touring out west with The Prairie Wallflowers (spring/summer 2018), she is settling into a full-time life in the Adirondack region and will be maintaining a consist line-up of acoustic bookings in the area, while developing a musical ensemble and video production team for collaborative musical projects.
(Participants on her album of solo material "In Tarnation" have also played on such well-known albums as:
Bob Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks," "Blonde on Blonde," and "Love and Theft,"
Warren Zevon's "Reconsider Me,"
Iron & Wine's "In the Reins,"
Neko Case's "Fox Confessor Brings the Flood,"
Devotchka's "How it Ends,"
KT Tunstall's "Invisible Empire Crescent Moon,"
M. Ward's "Post-War" and
the entire Calexico catalogue.)