In The Time Machine

Billy Pilgrim

Honest Harry Records, 2020

http://billypilgrimmusic.bandcamp.com

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/17/2021

Billy Pilgrim was a folk duo that were modestly popular in the mid ‘90s, comprised of singer/songwriters Andrew Hyra and Kristian Bush. This collection of songs was intended to be their third album in 2001 after being dropped by Atlantic Records for not selling as many records as Jewel. They had pressed up about 1000 CDs to be released throughout Atlanta with a bigger release set. Then, the studio where the master tapes were held was destroyed by fire and the album became destined to see the light of day.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Cut to 2020 and the COVID related lockdown and quarantine. Bush, who went on to major success with country duo Sugarland, and Hyra had reconnected and talked about playing shows again before the lockdown. Talk of this album came up and the two decided to salvage what they could in terms of material, and now we have this record. I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by the material here. I was never a Pilgrim fan before as I found their sound too mellow and singer/songwriter for my taste but there’s several songs on this collection that are just outstanding and really perked my ears.

Songs like “Open All Night” and “Blindspot” sound like early 2000s music you’d hear on VH1 or the Muzak at the grocery store. I was starting to get disappointed, and then “C’mon” came on and changed my mind. It’s very indie based and not like everything else they were doing; while it feels like late ‘90s/early 2000s, it sounds timeless to me and comes across exceptionally well. “Tumblelane” follows in those steps and manages to sound good and current and exciting, something a song like “Billy In The Time Machine” can’t do.

The record is a mixed bag of material and is not a definite recommend, but if you hear a song on streaming, you’d be advised to check it out. The album’s closer “Epilogue (With You I’m Alive)” is an absolutely gorgeous song that needs infinite repeats. It’s beautiful, and what a way to remember this kind of forgotten ‘90s relic.

Rating: B-

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