PHILADELPHIA - Cliff Hillis is known for putting the “power” into “power pop.” The Phoenixville-based musician, songwriter and producer will celebrate the June 19th release of his new album “Dream Good” by headlining Steel City (203 Bridge St., Phoenixville) with his band The Forward Thinkers on Friday, June 15 at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at steelcitycoffeehouse.com.
The new album’s title comes from one of its songs, but Hillis happily points out that “Dream Good” is also #20 on Woody Guthrie’s list of New Years Resolutions from 1943. It’s Hillis’ third release on San Francisco label TallBoy Records, and he describes it as sounding like “Wilco meets Fountains of Wayne,” and fully representative of his finely-honed pop/rock sensibility. Hillis also produced “Dream Good,” which was mixed in Nashville by noted pop producer Brad Jones (known for his work with Marshall Crenshaw, Jill Sobule and Matthew Sweet, among others).
“Dream Good” features a dozen sparkling new songs, including two that Hillis wrote with Scot Sax (“Welcome to You” and “When You’re Listening”); “Start Again” co-written with The Rembrandts’ Danny Wilde (who also contributes bass, guitar and vocals to the album); and “Keep the Blue Skies” co-written with Philip Price of The Winterpills, who also adds vocals.
Some of the many artists with whom Hillis has performed or recorded also contribute to “Dream Good,” including drummers David Uosikkinen (The Hooters, In the Pocket), Patrick Berkery (Bigger Lovers, Pernice Brothers, Danielson) and Bob Castaldi (Jeffrey Gaines, Flip Like Wilson); guitarists John Lilley (The Hooters, In the Pocket) and Jason Loughlin (Amos Lee, Nellie McKay, Rachel Yamagata); and violinist Shelley Weiss, among others.
“There are some artists who you just know should rise up and become stars, and Cliff Hillis is one of them.” - David Bash for Entertainment Today, Los Angeles
TOUR DATES: All featuring his full band The Forward Thinkers (unless otherwise noted):
Friday, June 15: Steel City, CD Release Show steelcitycoffeehouse.com
203 Bridge St Phoenixville, PA 19460 (610-933-4043). Special guest Scot Sax opens with a solo set starting at 8 p.m.
Sunday, June 17: Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, CD Release Show dogfish.com
320 Rehoboth Avenue, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971 (302-226-2739). CD listening party at 8 p.m.; two shows starting at 9 p.m. Free.
Thursday, June 28: World Cafe Live at The Queen (upstairs) queen.worldcafelive.com
500 N. Market Street, Wilmington, DE 19801 (302-994-1400). Special guest Andy King opens. 8 p.m.
Friday, June 29: Night Cat nightcatmusic.com
5 Goldsborough Street, Easton, MD 21601 (410-690-4544). Solo set opening for Jim Boggia at 8pm. Tickets: $15.
About Cliff Hillis:
In baseball terms, Hillis is a valued, multi-talented “utility” player: He plays guitar, bass and keyboards, he sings, he writes, and he’s an in-demand studio whiz that’s recorded, produced or mixed many artists. Hillis can also be seen performing with the popular Philadelphia-area bands Ike, Love Seed Mama Jump and the In the Pocket: Essential Songs of Philadelphia project.
Hillis’ two previous albums “Better Living Through Compression” and “The Long Now” garnered praise from USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Absolute Powerpop, Amplifier, Goldmine and many more. His original songs have been featured in TV shows (All My Children, Party of Five, Roswell, Life Unexpected and more) and films (Enough, After Sex, Waking Dreams, Mayor Cupcake). Hillis has also won national songwriting and jingle awards and contests.
More summer 2012 dates and additional CD info will be posted at www.cliffhillis.com.