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Center for the Arts to Present An Evening of Stories and Songs with Chris Hillman Featuring Herb Pederson

September 17, 2019  | 2 min read

Chris HillmanFour-time Grammy nominee and folk/rock innovator Chris Hillman will chronicle his storied music career alongside long-time musical partner Herb Pedersen at Pepperdine University’s Smothers Theatre in Malibu on Saturday, September 21, at 8 PM.

Hillman is more than a rock star. Arguably the pioneer of the genre known as “country rock,” he is one of the architects of contemporary American music. Hillman’s multi-award-winning guitar, mandolin, and bass playing, along with his passionate embrace of music, has made him a national treasure for his contributions to the folk, bluegrass, country, and rock genres.

Hillman grew up in California in the 1950s. After his sister came home from studying art at the University of Mexico and the University of Colorado with a stack of Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, and other records under her arm, 15-year-old Hillman became enamored with folk and bluegrass music.

Just out of high school in 1963, he joined his first band, the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers playing mandolin. The Squirrel Barkers, based in San Diego, performed throughout California until disbanding later in the year. The Golden State Boys, with brothers Vern and Rex Gosdin and Don Parmely, offered Hillman the job as mandolin player in their bluegrass group. They were seen every week on the local television program Cal’s Corral, and they continued to perform in numerous country and western clubs in Los Angeles County. This gave Hillman the experience he needed, working with such seasoned musicians as the Gosdin Brothers and Don Parmely. They were offered a record deal and recorded one album The Hillmen, which eventually was released on Sugar Hill Records.

The rest is history, with Hillman going on to be a founding member of the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Manassas, the Souther Hillman Furay Band, McGuinn Clark and Hillman and the Desert Rose Band. Throughout his six-decade career he also recorded solo albums. He has had great success as a songwriter: a partial list includes Tom Petty, Dwight Yoakam, Marty Stuart, Emmylou Harris, Sheryl Crow, Steve Earle, Dan Fogelberg, The Oak Ridge Boys and Beck.

Hillman’s close friend and collaborator for more than 50 years,Pedersen began his career in Berkeley, California in the early 1960s, playing 5-string banjo and acoustic guitar with artists such as David Grisman, Butch Waller, David Nelson and Jerry Garcia. His recording discography is a like a “who’s who” of the 1970s and 1980s singer/songwriter scene—Emmylou Harris, John Denver, Linda Rondstadt, Vince Gill, Johnny Rivers, Dan Fogelberg, James Taylor, Gordon Lightfoot, Jennifer Warnes, and John Prine have used Pedersen’s talents in the past and he continues to lend his voice to new recording projects. Pedersen has also been involved in television and motion picture soundtracks since the early 1970s. The Rockford FilesSmokey and The BanditMaverickHunter, and The Simpsons have used Pedersen either on 5-string banjo or vocals for many years. His songwriting has been another mainstay of his career. The Seldom Scene, the Dillards, the Desert Rose Band and Alan Jackson have all recorded Pedersen’s songs. He has been a member of the Pine Valley Boys, Vern and Ray, the Dillards, the Laurel Canyon Ramblers, the Desert Rose Band, J2B2, and Loafers’ Glory. Pedersen has given his time and talent to many charitable events.

Ticket prices range between $10 and $40. For additional information about this performance, and to purchase tickets, visit the Center for the Arts website.