Mark Erelli

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Hillbilly Pilgrim (2004)

cover of Hillbilly Pilgrim (2004)

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released 2004   Signature Sounds

On this 2004 release, Mark Erelli takes the dive he's always hinted at, unveiling an entire album of western swing originals. Back in the 1930s and 40s, crowds flocked to dance halls to hear music that combined big-band jazz with country instrumentation. Hillbilly Pilgrim finds Erelli teaming up with members of Boston's premier country band The Spurs to put a new spin on the tradition. Hillbilly Pilgrim is immersed in vintage twang without abandoning Erelli's contemporary sensibility and the heartfelt, thoughtful lyrics more commonly associated with folk music. Highlights include the rollicking "Troubadour Blues," a duet with Erin McKeown on "Pretend," the mournful "The Farewell Ball," and a cover of Billy Jack Wills' "Troubles," a pure rockabilly classic. This is a fun, largely uptempo record, where even the tearjerkers are leavened by sleek steel guitar and Erelli's jukebox vocals.

Produced by Lorne Entress & Mark Erelli

updated: 2 years ago