Benson Street – debut single from Justin Hiltner

Justin Hiltner, Nashville banjo picker, singer, and songwriter, is set to release his first full length solo project in December, titled simply 1992 for the year he was born. The debut single drops this Friday, Benson Street, a song of love and loss performed on voice and banjo.

If you recognize his name, it’s because Justin has been involved in the bluegrass scene in Music City for nearly a decade. On banjo he has toured and/or recorded with Roland White, Laurie Lewis, Jim Lauderdale, Ronnie McCoury, Molly Tuttle, and Missy Raines. As a music journalist, his work has appeared in Banjo NewsLetter, Rolling Stone Country, NPR Music, Bluegrass Situation, and more.

Hiltner has also recorded previously in duet projects with Jon Weisberger, and was nominated in 2016 for an IBMA Momentum Instrumentalist award. His songwriting has earned him a chance to feature his music in the IBMA Songwriter Showcase during World of Bluegrass, and an Honorable Mention in American Songwriter magazine’s Lyric Contest.

Of late Justin has been playing banjo in the touring company of Oklahoma, doing more than 200 shows already in 2022, but set to be back in Nashville before the end of the year.

Of the new single, which was recorded live in the studio, he tells us…

“I wrote Benson Street with Molly Tuttle a few years ago. It was the first song we ever wrote together. I love the imagery and the way the lyrics evoke a lazy summer evening in the south, with a longing that the singer knows can’t or won’t be satisfied. It’s not a particularly bluegrass arrangement in this context, solo banjo and vocals, but there’s something quintessentially bluegrass about the subject matter and the lack of resolution, I think.

You can definitely hear the influence of my favorite writers – like Tim O’Brien, Darrell Scott, and Laurie Lewis – throughout.”

Check it out…

Benson Street releases for download and streaming on November 18.

The full 1992 project is set for release December 9, and pre-orders are enabled now.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.