24 March 2016

Lost Soul

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Tomorrow is the official release date for Lost Soul, my first album since 2006. You will be able to listen to it on this very website, or stream it at Spotify, download it at iTunes, purchase a physical copy at CDBaby, etc. Basically, it should be available wherever you get your music nowadays.

By way of review, I’ve written extensively about Lost Soul:

Speaking of premieres, there have been three:

  • Popdose struck first with an audio version of Big Sur
  • Relix launched the live-action video of Big Sur
  • Country Fried Rock published the lyric video for I’ll Replace You With Machines

In addition to the above, two online publications wrote about the album in advance of its release:

My favorite quotes so far:

“Bob Hillman’s very talented, a fine writer, and a joy to work with.”
-Peter Case in The Huffington Post

“Hillman’s lyrics are the terrible things I think, but do not say.”
Country Fried Rock

“The 12 songs are produced by no less than singer/songwriter (and Plimsouls/Nerves legend) Peter Case and are a stunning exercise of the harmonious balance of lyrics and music.”

“Sweet and wistful, [Big Sur is] the perfect soundtrack to the oncoming change of seasons.”

“Cult-fave singer/songwriters’ tendency to attract one another is one possible reason former Plimsouls’ frontman/longtime troubadour Peter Case is on board here as producer and Joseph Arthur handles guitar duties. But it’s more likely that West Coast songsmith Hillman’s razor-sharp lyrics and unfailingly infectious melodies drew the aforementioned artists into his orbit.”

Thank Yous
Peter Case, who produced the record, has inspired me since I was a pre-teen, and actively encouraged my songwriting since my mid-20s. Working with him was an absolute pleasure, but it was about more than just his presence: his helped me envision and execute the exact recording I wanted to make.

Sheldon Gomberg engineered and – along with Peter – mixed the record. I felt welcome in his studio, and benefited from his experience and taste. I look forward to our ongoing correspondence, which is sure to included catch phrases like “bullshit bread” and “up your rump.”

Jason Gossman is a Dodger fan, which did not appeal to my kids. Still, he was able to set aside the Dodgers vs. Giants rivalry and get down to business in the studio. His technical expertise made things a lot easier than they might have been, and he placed my microphones with extreme precision.

Joe Gastwirt mastered the record, but also led me calmly through various technical challenges and told me all about working with Leonard Cohen and The Grateful Dead.

Joseph Arthur is an irrepressible idea man. His loops are the building blocks of the Lost Soul sound, and there’s nothing he played on guitar that I would have thought of myself (which is what I wanted). Most importantly, his positive energy around the songs validated the project for me at a critical stage.

Jonny Flaugher, Danny Frankel, and Danny McGough reached for unpredictable sounds and parts on bass, drums, and keyboards. I’m looking forward to reuniting with them at Trip in Santa Monica on April 14th, and as often as possible after that.

Marky and Kipp Lennon are longtime friends – they played at my wedding – but this is the first time we’ve worked together. When they started singing “I Think I’ve Taken Enough Shit From You This Year,” Peter Case said: “I think these guys know what they’re doing,” which is an understatement.

Louise Taylor is responsible for any improvements I’ve made on the vocal end of things. I’ve always admired Louise as a songwriter – her Ride album is one of my favorites – but she is also a very, very talented teacher with a firm grasp on both the technical and emotional aspects of communicating with an audience.

Sanford Biggers, Danny Rothenberg, Brian Joseph, and Thomas Rogers  who contributed photography – have been more than generous with their time, artistic insight, and intellectual property.

Sara Scanlan handled design across the board: the album cover, of course, but also social media headers, t-shirts, etc. Besides Peter Case, she is probably the #1 contributor to the overall vibe of Lost Soul, and I am grateful for her diligence and sensibility, not to mention her friendship. Go Lightning!

Biff Kennedy, Kurt Nishimura, and Kevin Sutter are helping spread the word on Lost Soul to the press and radio. So far, so good!

Kathy Ng shared her social-media secrets, rendering me and my music more searchable.

Speaking of social media, Josh Grossnickle has become my de facto Facebook consultant, which helps explain why some of you may be seeing my posts more than you used to.

Mike Ragogna “discovered” me at the Sidewalk Cafe in the mid-90s, and has been generous with his time and expertise ever since. His contributions to Lost Soul were ad hoc but essential, including hooking me up with a great publicist and generating some useful publicity of his own. My musical life would be a lot different without Mike in my corner.

Jim Allen, my longtime partner in an imaginary French-Canadian acoustic duo, is doing everything in his power as a freelance music journalist to connect me with a broader audience.

Wendy Beckerman and Chris Donohoe encouraged me to make the record for the right reason, i.e. “because that’s what songwriters do.”

Tim Robinson served as my aesthetic conscience as it pertains to songs and artwork.

Mike Clem, Paul Brill, Stephen Kellogg, Mark Erelli, and Steve Tannen offered general encouragement and specific insight into the way to get things done in the 21st century music landscape. It’s been great re-connecting with these and other friends from back in the day.

Karen Rogers, mother-in-law, not only helped with the family during recording, but also created watercolor illustrations for handwritten lyrics that were a Kickstarter reward. She wins the award for most eclectic range of contributions.

Sarah Rogers served as my loving spouse throughout the writing, recording, and release of Lost Soul. Among other things, she managed without me for almost two weeks during recording, which is a huge deal when you consider that our two young kids are CRAZY (but cute). I look forward to supporting her similarly when her next opportunity arises.

Finally, Soren and Sebastian Hillman are great kids who seem to understand why I’m doing what I’m doing. They didn’t complain when I disappeared for two weeks and brought back not-so-great presents; I can’t wait until I can take them on the road with me as tour-managers-in-training.

Next Steps

  • The publicity machine is cranked up and doing its best to (1) convince DJs to play the music and (2) induce journalists to say nice things about it.
  • I will be performing intermittently – it’s not exactly “touring,” but it’s something – starting yesterday through the end of Spring.
  • Most importantly, I will be writing new songs. That’s what it’s all about, right? Keep an eye on my SoundCloud for rough demos.

Final Thoughts
I made this record for good reasons: I had a bunch of songs, and an opportunity to bring them to life in the company of people I admire and like. I don’t care about stardom, or even making a living as a singer/songwriter. What I care about is getting the music to the people who are looking for it – I know they’re out there – and maybe making another record when the time is right. Keep this in mind as you listen, share the music and story when it occurs to you, and get in touch with any ideas. That’s all I ask!

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Bad Business // Lost Soul
  1. Bad Business // Lost Soul
  2. Big Sur // Lost Soul
  3. Party Dress // Lost Soul
  4. Overnight Failure // Lost Soul
  5. Saint Catherine Street // Lost Soul
  6. I’ll Replace You With Machines // Lost Soul
  7. War of Independence // Lost Soul
  8. Alison’s Part of the Equation // Lost Soul
  9. I Think I’ve Taken Enough Shit From You This Year // Lost Soul
  10. You Started Drinking Again // Lost Soul
  11. Lost Soul // Lost Soul
  12. Artificial Light // Lost Soul