October 6, 2009 Rock Hall of Fame Guitarist Chris Hillman Speaks at Library on Oct. 16

Press Contact: Erin Allen (202) 707-7302
Public Contact: Anne McLean (202) 707-8432

Through his four-decade career, rock pioneer Chris Hillman has carved a permanent niche in the history of contemporary American music through his work with such notable bands as The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers and the Desert Rose Band.

He will talk about the craft of the songwriter and about his prolific career on Friday, Oct. 16, at noon in the Mumford Room, sixth floor of the Library’s James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave., S.E. Washington, D.C. The event is free to the public; no tickets are required.

With his strong bluegrass background, Hillman began his career playing guitar and mandolin, later becoming a bass player, a songwriter and a vocalist. The Byrds' first single, a cover of Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man," was a huge international hit and marked the birth of the musical genre "folk rock." During the mid-1960s, The Byrds ranked as one of the most successful and influential American pop groups, recording a string of hits including "Eight Miles High," "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star" and "Turn! Turn! Turn!”

With the departure of David Crosby and Michael Clarke from the band in 1968, Hillman and his new partner Gram Parsons changed the Byrds' musical direction, helping to usher in a new era of music known as "country rock," when they recorded the album "Sweetheart of the Rodeo." Hillman’s work with The Flying Burrito Brothers reflected the eclectic musical interests of a generation.

Returning to his bluegrass and country roots in 1987, Hillman joined the Desert Rose Band, which enjoyed a string of 16 top country hits. They also garnered a number of awards from both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association. Hillman is considered a notable artist across several genres, influencing country rock and roll, folk rock and pop music. His songs have been covered by artists such as Sheryl Crow, Beck, Rose Maddox and Emmylou Harris.

Hillman’s latest album, “The Other Side,” was a solo offering in 2006, including a country-tinted version of The Byrds 1966 single "Eight Miles High."

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. It seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized website at myLOC.gov.

The music collections in the Library of Congress encompass virtually all musical genres–classical, jazz, folk, gospel, blues, rock, country and hip-hop. There are original manuscripts by European masters such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms, as well as those of American masters such as Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein. Many digitized musical items now are online in the Performing Arts Encyclopedia at www.loc.gov/performingarts/.


PR 09-203
ISSN 0731-3527