Ears Wide Open: Tim Hill

Tim Hill (Photo by Matt Correia)

Say hello to Tim Hill, the Southwestern cowboy, who hums songs of simpler times. A storyteller at heart, the Americana multi-instrumentalist’s music hits you right in the feels.

A Whittier native, son of a music teacher and a fledgling rancher in the Silverado area of Orange County, Hill got his start like many other musicians, playing in someone else’s band. In his early years, Hill played with various punk groups before naturally gravitating toward the alt-country he crafts today.

His first full-length album, “Payador,” was recorded on four-track tape — which lent itself to the rustic, backroad-type sound you might hear around a campfire. After the final touches on the album, Hill knew he needed to upgrade his approach for future records. “It couldn’t have been more than a few seconds after the last take, the last overdub, the last cassette, that smoke began to billow from behind the four-track recorder,” Hill said.

And Hill’s next batch of tunes definitely had a different sound to them. His latest single, “Honey Tangerine,” produced by Jonny Bell, sounds more modern, without losing Hill’s unique style. The tune tells the story of two lovers stuck inside due to the rain. A somber tune, with undertones of sorrow and reflection, no less. In the video, animated and directed by Andrew Knives, we see a cowboy in the desert, strumming away, ironically with no rain in sight.

“Honey Tangerine” is the follow-up to “Calico,” a tune that narrates the journey to the center of the sun. It’s filled with pedal steel guitars and harmonica melodies that pull your heartstrings. “Oh sun, my sun / Take me to the sky / Leave me there high above until my time to die,” Hill sings. In the cartoon animated video, we see the vast open desert on a hot summer day.

Both tracks will be on Hill’s upcoming sophomore album, “Giant” out Feb. 10, 2023, via Innovative Leisure/Calico Discos.

||| Watch: The video for “Honey Tangerine”

||| Also: Watch the video for “Calico”