Musician Matt Hillyer found inspiration for album 'Glorieta' in New Mexico - Albuquerque Journal

Musician Matt Hillyer found inspiration for album ‘Glorieta’ in New Mexico

Singer-songwriter Matt Hillyer will perform on Friday, Jan. 27, at Launchpad. He will open for Dale Watson. (Courtesy of Shane Kislack)

Matt Hillyer is driving along the West Coast on a 10-day tour opening for Dale Watson.

He’s taking in the natural beauty along the way.

“The drives have been really good so far,” he says. “The landscapes are so beautiful.”

The Texas-based musician will end his run with Watson on Friday, Jan. 27, at Launchpad.

Hillyer is readying his new album, “Glorieta,” which will be out on Feb. 24. The single of the same name was released last fall.

It’s been a journey to “Glorieta” for Hillyer.

He began writing the material for the album in August 2020.

In 2021, Hillyer was ending his time with the honky-tonk band Eleven Hundred Springs – a journey that lasted 23 years.

But for lead singer-songwriter Hillyer, the ending of his beloved band wasn’t the end of his own musical road.

He had already began writing material for what would become “Glorieta.”

The album is produced by John Pedigo of The O’s,who has also produced albums by the Old 97’s and Joshua Ray Walker.

The album began taking shape in November 2020, a full year before Eleven Hundred Springs would perform its final notes together.

During that time, Hillyer says he exercised his songwriting muscle in a new way after joining a songwriting group that provided weekly strategic challenges to his “process” thereby tapping a new spring of inspiration and vulnerability.

“In this group, we have to write a song a week and it’s due on Wednesday,” he says. “If you don’t turn in a song, you get kicked out of the group. Today is Wednesday, I need to finish up a new song.”

The title-track, and the album’s first single, is picture taken from the pages of Hillyer’s family photo album with a folksy, jaunty rhythm.

Glorieta is an actual postcard-perfect place in New Mexico that his mother has had for years, and has since become something of a retreat for him and his family when it’s time to unplug the amps and phones.

“I’m actually going to spend some time there when this tour is over,” he says. “During the pandemic, my family packed up and we made a trip out to Glorieta where we went hiking and just stayed away from everyone. It was an experience to remember.”

Hillyer’s set will consists of songs he’s written over the course of his career, as well as some from the new album.

“To me they’re all just songs I had a hand in creating, whether it’s an Eleven Hundred Springs song or one of my solo songs and I’m really proud of them,” he says. “Those songs have gone places and have taken me places. I’m also excited to see where the new music will take me, because I have no plans to stop doing this anytime soon.”

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