Chris Hillman, whose career has spanned more than five decades, thought his days as a recording artist were over — until he met Tom Petty.
“I thought I had done it all,” said Hillman, a founding member of the Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, Manassas and the Desert Rose Band. “But then I had the chance to work with Tom Petty — the last great true rock ’n’ roll star — and now I’m feeling like it’s 1975 all over again.”
Hillman, who turns 73 in December, has turned back the clock thanks in part to Petty, who produced Hillman’s latest album, “Bidin’ My Time,” which was released last week. It’s Hillman’s first studio album in more than a decade, and the album’s high expectations led to Hillman hitting the road on a 19-date tour that will stop at the Red Clay Music Foundry in Duluth on at 8 p.m. Friday.
Hillman will play many of the album’s dozen songs, including “Bells of Rhymney,” “Given All I Can See,” “Here She Comes Again,” “Walk Right Back,” “She Don’t Care About Time” and “Such Is The World That We Live In.” But he’ll also play the hits he helped crank out with his previous bands, including the Byrds’ “Turn!, Turn! Turn!” and “Eight Miles High.”
“‘Turn! Turn! Turn’ is the owner’s manual to life,” Hillman said. “The song’s words are as relevant today as they were when it was written in The Bible because it’s about living life. There’s a time to be born and a time to die. It’s the signature song of the Byrds — not ‘Mr. Tambourine Man.’”
“The Bells of Rhymney,” which the Byrds recorded for their 1965 debut, “Mr. Tambourine Man,” is Hillman’s favorite Byrds’ song, so he recorded it again alongside Byrds’ co-founder David Crosby and Herb Pedersen, who co-founded the Desert Rose Band and served as the executive…