In a sense, In The Battle Years represents Hillsburn's formal introduction as a band. But for the members of the quintet, the release of their first album also feels like the end of a long road.
Paul Aarntzen, one of Hillsburn’s three singers and the songwriting force behind the project, remembers clearly the first time the group got together in the spring of 2014: "We crammed four people and half a dozen instruments into my two-door hatchback, drove down to Hillsburn —the village on the Bay of Fundy where I used to live — and spent three straight days playing together."
After two or three such sessions, Aarntzen sold his house and moved to Halifax to work on the band full time.
Hillsburn released a self-titled, self-produced EP in October 2014. “At that point, we’d only been rehearsing seriously for a month, but we were excited to share what we’d been working on,” recalls Rosanna Burrill, another of Hillsburn’s singers. “We rented a hundred bucks' worth of gear and recorded the EP in one weekend."
In March 2015, the band entered “Farther In The Fire,” a song from that EP, in CBC’s Searchlight competition, an annual hunt for the best unsigned talent in Canada. The song’s eventual finish in the national top ten led to relationships with Halifax-based independent record label GroundSwell Music and with producer Jon Landry (The Stanfields, The Town Heroes).
Recorded over a two-week period in August 2015, In The Battle Years showcases a clarity of approach that hadn’t had time to develop when Hillsburn released its EP.
Artist's Website: www.hillsburn.com