What's happening in and around Phoenixville, PA.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Local Singer-Songwriter Cliff Hillis Performing at Steel City next Friday

Cliff Hillis is known for putting the “power” into “power pop.” The Phoenixville, PA-based singer and songwriter will celebrate the release of his new album Dream Good with these June shows in Phoenixville, PA, Wilmington, DE and Easton, MD. All will feature his full band The Forward Thinkers (unless otherwise noted):

  • Friday, June 15: CD Release Show at Steel City Coffeehouse, 203 Bridge St Phoenixville, PA 19460 (610-933-4043). Special guest Scot Sax opens with a solo set starting at 8pm. Tickets: $10 adv/$12 day of show.
  • Sunday, June 17: CD Release Show at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, 320 Rehoboth Avenue, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971 (302-226-2739). CD listening party at 8pm; two shows starting at 9pm. Free.
  • Thursday, June 28: World Cafe Live at The Queen (upstairs), 500 N. Market Street, Wilmington, DE 19801 (302-994-1400). 8pm. Tickets and special guest: TBA
  • Friday, June 29: Night Cat, 5 Goldsborough Street, Easton, MD 21601 (410-690-4544). Solo set opening for Jim Boggia at 8pm. Tickets: $15.
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. Hillis, who also produced Dream Good, describes its sound as “Wilco meets Fountains of Wayne,” and fully representative of his finely-honed pop/rock sensibility.

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. It was mixed in Nashville by noted pop producer Brad Jones (known for his work with Marshall Crenshaw, Jill Sobule and Matthew Sweet, among others).

Some of the many artists with whom Hillis has performed or recorded also contribute to Dream Good, including drummers David Uosikkinnen (Hooters, In the Pocket), Patrick Berkery (Bigger Lovers, Pernice Brothers, Danielson) and Bob Castaldi (Jeffrey Gaines, Flip Like Wilson); guitarists John Lilley (Hooters, In the Pocket) and Jason Loughlin (Amos Lee, Nellie McKay, Rachel Yamagata); and violinist Shelley Weiss.

In baseball terms, Hillis is a valued, multi-talented “utility” player: He plays guitar, bass and keyboards, he sings, he writes, and he is 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.

His 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. Hillis’ original songs have appeared in TV shows (All My Children, Party of Five, Roswell, Life Unexpected and more) and films (Enough, After Sex, Waking Dreams, Mayor Cupcake) and he’s won national songwriting and jingle awards and contests.

More summer 2012 dates and additional CD info will be posted at www.cliffhillis.com.

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