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Country-rock pioneer Chris Hillman tells his story in new memoir

Country-rock pioneer Chris Hillman. chrishillman.com

Over a career that has lasted more than a half-century, U.S. country-rock pioneer Chris Hillman has experienced it all, but it wasn’t until recently that he decided to put his story down on paper.

The singer-songwriter — known as an original member of both The Byrds and the Flying Burrito Band, as well as projects like Manassas, the Desert Rose Band and more — told 680 CJOB he didn’t plan for his new memoir, Time Between, to ever be read beyond his own family.

“I had a big, thick manuscript sitting here,” said Hillman. “I really wrote the book for the kids and the grandkids.

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“I didn’t keep a diary or journal, and in hindsight I wish I had… but I had a really good memory and still do.

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“I remembered things, and I started this book seven years ago, and it was just a labour of love. I had no great aspirations for anything.”

Hillman, who turned 76 earlier this month, is still a working musician, and his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career — he was inducted as a member of The Byrds in 1991 — has had continued influence over new generations of artists who incorporate country and bluegrass roots into rock sounds.

Unlike many rock star tell-alls, however, Hillman said his book isn’t focused on sordid stories or remembering drug-fuelled adventures — involving himself or notorious bandmates like Gram Parsons.

“I didn’t feel that it was relevant to write, to denigrate anyone I worked with or to graphically state that in the book,” he said.

“I told (my publisher) when we made this deal… I’m not giving you the stereotypical rock ‘n’ roll book.

“I just didn’t feel it was necessary to do that. I had read Linda Ronstadt’s book — I’ve only read a couple of autobiographies — but Linda did not denigrate anyone in her book; I loved that. I thought that was so good. She just talked about music, how she loved it, it was a passion.”

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Hillman said he feels like a “lucky kid” for the illustrious, Grammy-nominated career he’s had.

“I feel blessed. I’m serious… I had a really great career, and if it had ended two years ago, I would’ve been very happy.”

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Country music artist Mariel Buckley performs

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