Bad Business

Bob Hillman

Bad Business
Performed By Bob Hillman
Album UPC 040232324925
CD Baby Track ID TR0001984420
Label Bob Hillman
Released 2016-01-18
BPM 124
Rated 0
ISRC QMEU31513383
Year 2015
Spotify Plays 0
Songtrust Track ID 881810
Writer Robert D Hillman
Songwriter ID 210395
Pub Co Lap Cat Music
Composer Robert D Hillman
Clearance Sync & All Media Uses
Publisher Admin CD Baby Publishing
Rights Controlled Master and Publishing
Rights One-Stop: Master + 100% Publishing
Original/Cover/Public Domain original
Country United States - California - SF
Lyrics Language English


San Francisco singer/songwriter Bob Hillman is back with a new album of original songs after ten years away from the business. Produced by Peter Case and featuring Joseph Arthur.


San Francisco singer/songwriter Bob Hillman is back with a new album after more than ten years away from the business.

Bob had a good run in the late 90s/early 00s, releasing three albums and touring the United States and Europe, including 80 some-odd dates as the opening act on Suzanne Vega’s Songs in Red and Gray tour. Above all, he was a well-respected songwriter, earning positive notices like this one from Susan Stamberg on All Things Considered:

“Welcome to My Century is a storytelling melting pot of skilled musicianship and serious yet often comical compositions that are sure to please. I’ve never heard of this Mr. Bob Hillman but that song about War and Peace is enough to make you want to pick up War and Peace and start reading it.”

In 2003, however, he made the decision to become “employable” by going to business school; he then spent ten years working as a marketer on brands like Formula 409, Glad, and QuickBooks and raising his sons, who are now 6 and 8.

A 2014 layoff—which opened up some time for writing and meditating on the possibilities, music-wise—roughly coincided with Peter Case’s relocating from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Peter, a songwriter’s songwriter, had encouraged Bob since the mid-90s, when a first batch of demos made its way to an address on the back of Peter’s Torn Again album. They re-connected and, after a year and many, many cups of coffee, decided to work together.

Peter was a major impetus for the project—“how could I resist the opportunity to work with one of the songwriters who inspired me to become a songwriter?”—but the mainstreaming of crowdfunding didn’t hurt. Bob’s Kickstarter reached its initial, possibly-too-modest goal in two days and eventually generated almost $20,000. “Crowdfunding can work for the financing part,” he says, “but it’s also great for gauging interest among your friends/fans. I needed that vote of confidence.”

The result is Lost Soul, produced by Peter Case with twelve new songs culled from the hundred or so new ones since 2005. The album was recorded by Sheldon Gomberg at The Carriage House in Silver Lake, CA. Not coincidentally, that’s where Peter recorded his latest album; Ben Harper, Ricki Lee Jones, and The Watkins Family have also worked there in the not-too-distant past.

Bob is proud of this recording, which—thanks to Peter Case’s vision and Joseph Arthur’s loops, among many other things—relies on a less crafted, more visceral sound than the straightforward folk-rock in his catalog.

His ambitions are different from the old days, when conquering the world still held some appeal: “I just want as many people as possible to hear these songs,” he says. But Lost Soul is about more than just the songs or the sound. How many people return to their passion after so many years away? As one fan put it in a recent email:

“You know, I think seeing you ‘back’ could be the most inspiring thing I’ve come across in years. After sleeping on it, I’m rethinking all the things I thought I’d never do again…”

Bob Hillman: acoustic guitar, vocals
Joseph Arthur: electric guitar (1-5,8-9,11), acoustic slide guitar (7), piano (4)
Jonathan Flaugher: electric bass (1-5,7-9,11), double bass (6,10,12)
Danny Frankel: drums, percussion
Danny McGough: piano (9,12), organ, contraptions
Mike Fortunato: trumpet
Mark Lennon: harmony vocals (1, 3, 11)
Kipp Lennon: harmony vocals (1, 3, 11)
Cindy Wasserman: harmony vocals (2, 6, 7)
Peter Case: harmony vocals (8)

Produced by Peter Case
Recorded by Sheldon Gomberg with Jason Gossman and Larry Fergusson at The Carriage House (Silver Lake, CA)
Mixed by Sheldon Gomberg and Peter Case
Mastered by Joe Gastwirt at Joe Gastwirt Mastering

Cover photograph by Sanford Biggers © 2015 All Rights Reserved
Portrait by Brian Joseph
Illustration by Tim Robinson
Design by Sara Scanlan

All songs by Bob Hillman
© 2015 Lap Cat Music (ASCAP)

Thanks to Wendy Beckerman, Paul Brill, Chris Dohohoe, Patrice Haan, Brian Joseph, Mary Lennon, Tim Robinson, Karen and Arthur Rogers, Danny Rothenberg, and Louise Taylor for essential input and encouragement. Thanks also to everyone who supported the Kickstarter campaign that made this recording possible.

For Sarah, Soren, and Sebastian.

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