The legendary band Eleven Hundred Springs ended its history in 2021, but the Texan band’s front man and songwriter, Matt Hillyer, is still very active.
He coproduced, last year, Squeezebox Bandits’ album, “Check To Check“, a fantastic record reviewed on this blog (check it out here), and wrote o cowrote several songs on it, including the amazing “Never Again” and the title track. Y’all need to listen to this album if you’ve not done it yet. He also cowrote last year another great song, “Someday, Not Today“, for The Broken Spoke’s amazing album, “Where I Went Wrong“.
But now, let’s talk about his second solo album, released on Friday 24th, “Glorieta“, via State Fair Records, 9 years after his first solo album, “If These Old Bones Could Talk“.
This LP was produced by John Pedigo, brilliant producer of Joshua Ray Walker’s albums, “See You Next Time“, “Glad You Made It” and “Wish You Were Here” (all of them also released via State Fair Records).
Matt Hillyer wrote all the 11 songs of “Glorieta“, with Chad Rueffer and Mark David Manders cowriting two of them.
One of my favorite songs on this album is undoubtedly the catchy and old-school “Stolen Kisses“, cowritten with Chad Rueffer. Music and songwriting are particularly brilliant, and we can appreciate this outstanding song more and more listen after listen.
The title track is a song named in reference to a little town of New Mexico that the Dallas singer uses as a retreat, far from the city. This tune, released as a single on September 13th of 2022, has an excellent songwriting.
“Glorieta I can hear your calls to me echo through the canyon singing out my name
Even better when the nighttime falls like the ghost of some old rebel or the whistle of a train
And a sky so full of stars just as far as I can see
Glorieta let me tell ya in your arms is where I wanna be”Glorieta
“Ordinary Man“, a beautiful song about Matt Hillyer’s father, is another evidence of the high quality of the songwriting on this album, as is the refined “What Kind Of Fool“.
“Diablo Motel” is another amazing song, with great storytelling and amazing accordion, played by Abel Casillas (the front man of the brilliant band Squeezebox Bandits), an instrument that can also be heard and appreciated on the excellent “That’s How You Know“, along with great pedal steel, played by Lloyd Maines.
Fantastic pedal steel is precisely what you can listen to on “Just Passing Through“, a splendid traditional country ballad, one of the most outstanding songs on the album.
“You Gotta Keep Moving“, an awesome song for the dance floor, is the kind of tune that could have been part of an Eleven Hundred Springs’s album.
If you love fiddle, you’ll also particularly appreciate “It’s All About The Ride“, cowritten with Mark David Manders, the amazing “Dirty Little Secrets” and the catchy “Holding Fast“, this last one being the second single released ahead of the album release, on January 20th.
With “Glorieta“, we have a Texas music gem, full of excellent music and brilliant storytelling. Eleven Hundred Springs may be part of the past now, but Matt Hillyer is tireless and with this solo album we can appreciate all his talent and enjoy a wonderful record.