Chris Hillman - Pioneering Country Rock

Pioneering Country Rock

Internal strife dogged the Byrds, and by the beginning of 1968 the band was down to two original members (Hillman and McGuinn), with Hillman's cousin Kevin Kelley on drums. They then hired Gram Parsons to replace Crosby. Hillman and Parsons changed the Byrds' musical direction, helping to usher in a new genre known as country rock when they recorded the album Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Once again Hillman seemed to recede into the background, leaving most of the vocals to Parsons and McGuinn and concentrating on bass and mandolin. Parsons left the band shortly thereafter; Hillman brought in former Kentucky Colonels guitarist Clarence White as a replacement, but this lineup was short-lived when Hillman himself left a few weeks later.

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