If You Lived Here You'd Be Home
In a music world increasingly compartmentalized into tiny musical pigeonholes, Bob Hillman's songs live in several neighborhoods at once. Hillman's third album, IF YOU LIVED HERE YOU'D BE HOME, bears the melodic hooks and infectious feel of power-pop, the rootsy, organic vibe of Americana rock, and the conceptual heft and lyrical insight of the singer/songwriter. With sharp social satire that harkens back to vintage Kinks and a literary bent as book-smart as the Decemberists but as heartfelt as Elliott Smith, Hillman delivers concise, punchy tunes short on pretense and long on wit and wisdom. Originally from Los Angeles, Hillman came to New York City in the '90s to pursue songwriting with a vengeance. He quickly insinuated himself into the local scene and it wasn't long before he was opening shows worldwide for everyone from Suzanne Vega to Dave Alvin, stealing audiences' hearts with a mix of spontaneous humor and perspicacious songcraft, and stealing the show everywhere from the Fillmore Auditorium to the Newport Folk Festival. A move to the midwest found Hillman in the heart of the Iowa City songwriters' scene that spawned storied troubadour Greg Brown. Far from the lights of New York, Hillman put together a band of crack local musicians and made IF YOU LIVED HERE YOU'D BE HOME, a homegrown record that matches his worldly observations with small-town heart and musical muscle. Hillman will be touring throughout 2006 in support of his third batch of expertly crafted, hard-hitting songs, demonstrating the commanding skills that have won him numerous songwriting awards and placed him on hand-picked compilation albums alongside the likes of Vega, Aimee Mann, and Bruce Springsteen (all of whom have been mentioned by the press as reference points to triangulate Hillman's broad-ranging style). As one reviewer put it, 'he may be one indie-movie soundtrack away from bigger things.' Whether or not the silver screen becomes Hillman's entrée to the mainstream, IF YOU LIVED HERE YOU'D BE HOME makes an even bigger mark on the musical map this formidable songsmith has already tacked up on the windshield.