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Kristian Bush and Andrew Hyra revive Billy Pilgrim with new song, album

Andrew Hyra (left) and Kristian Bush in the '90s days of Billy Pilgrim. Photo: Michael McLaughlin
Andrew Hyra (left) and Kristian Bush in the '90s days of Billy Pilgrim. Photo: Michael McLaughlin

The ‘90s-era musical debut of Kristian Bush, Billy Pilgrim, is back with a new single to preview the band’s “In the Time Machine” album, due this fall.

Decatur-based Bush – known for his standing in Sugarland and Dark Water – and partner Andrew Hyra recorded what was to be Billy Pilgrim's third album at the turn of the century at Nickel & Dime Studio in Avondale. But a fire at the studio in late 2000 burned the master tapes. A lone copy of the folk-rock album remained and from it, about 500 CDs were pressed and sold at a 2001 performance at Eddie's Attic. Following the concert, Bush and Hyra went their separate ways and didn't speak for the next 15 years (in 2016, Hyra joined Bush for his annual Thanksgiving shows at Eddie's Attic).

“I remember thinking to myself, man, this band isn’t finished,” Bush said.

While cleaning out his home during the pandemic, Bush discovered that one remaining copy of the CD – “In the Time Machine.”

The single, "Call it Even," is available now on all streaming platforms.

Along with Bush and Hyra, the musicians featured on “In the Time Machine” are Brandon Bush (Sugarland, Train) on keyboards; David LaBruyere (John Mayer) on bass; Joey Craig on guitar; and Sigadore “Siggy” Birkis (John Mayer), Marcus Petruska (Corey Davis) and Travis McNabb (Better Than Ezra) on drums. Producer/engineer Don McCollister, who owned Nickel & Dime Studio, co-produced the album along with the Bush brothers and Hyra.

During the ‘90s, Billy Pilgrim’s music was featured on soundtracks to several TV shows, including “Melrose Place” and “My So-Called Life,” while the duo toured the world with Melissa Etheridge, Hootie & The Blowfish and the Cowboy Junkies. Songs “Get Me Out of Here” and “Insomniac” became hits on college and Triple-A radio, while their 1995 album, “Bloom,” hit No. 37 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart.

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