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Chris Hillman & Herb Pedersen

Bakersfield Bound – 1996 (Sugar Hill)

Reviewed by Bill Sacks

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CDs by Chris Hillman & Herb Pedersen

This is essentially a tribute record, a recollection of the signature songs and sounds of that city's great musical traditions, and it is a fine one. Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen, working together for the first time since the dissolution of the Desert Rose Band, sing with a rare passion not only recalling their old band's finer moments, but the best of Hillman's work with the Flying Burrito Brothers as well. Pedersen's expert production breathes new life into the classic interplay of clean guitars and steel (played with real character by Jay Dee Maness). The record just sounds alive in ways that most current Nashville product can't. But the real value of this record is the quality of feeling in the covers: the House of Bryant has found new champions here with a mournful version of "Brand New Heartache." Buck Owens has never been better served. In a better world, an album of this quality would spark a new rebellion in the country music community, one which could build on on the intelligence and integrity of the "cosmic American music" Hillman has sought to create throughout his career.