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Billy Pilgrim


Jim Merlis

Cory Councill


Billy Pilgrim – originally named for a character in Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse Five,” a shared favorite novel of the pair – was the first band for Bush, who would later become the soulful half of multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning country duo Sugarland, as well a producer, playwright and solo artist. He met Hyra in Bush’s hometown of Knoxville, Tenn., in 1990 at an open mic night hosted by Hyra and his sister, Annie. As Bush prepared to move to Atlanta to attend Emory University, he persuaded the siblings to also move to the city, where a bustling acoustic scene was unfolding.

Their first major-label effort – the critically acclaimed Billy Pilgrim – arrived in 1994 and spawned the college and Triple-A radio hits, “Get Me Out Of Here” and “Insomniac.” The follow-up, 1995’s “Bloom,” hit No. 37 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart and offered fans the melodic-yet-muscular “Sweet Louisiana Sound.” Billy Pilgrim’s videos regularly rotated on VH1 and the band was tapped for numerous high-profile opening slots, including Melissa Etheridge, the Cowboy Junkies, Matthew Sweet and Hootie & The Blowfish.

Following their release from Atlantic Records in 1996, Billy Pilgrim began tinkering with what would eventually become “In the Time Machine.” Nearly five years later, the album received its only public outing at the Eddie’s Attic performance that ended with Bush and Hyra following diverging paths.

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Michael McLaughlin