Based out of Berwyn, PA but forged through iterations of original bands in Berlin, BetterDucks are an Indie Alt Rock band fronted by German born vocalist, guitarist and primary songwriter Dirk Externest. Better Ducks sound is - to curl up with on rainy days or to dance to in a sun-soaked summer. They fuse a driving rhythm section with vocal harmonies, melodic guitar work, with the deep richness of Dirk's lead vocals… think Wilco meets Knopfler with an occasional live encounter with The Drive By Truckers.
BetterDucks are unique with the pure warmth and honesty in their song-writing coupled with distinctive 70's vintage imagery and lack of pretense. Their music touches upon a range of emotions spanning both their upbeat to mellow songs, guiding listeners through their unique take on life's memorable moments.
The skillfully balanced harmonies gently unfold the narratives, with the soulful richness of Dirk's lyrics and voice. Dave Faunce backing vocals and keyboards accompany along with balanced clean and edgy melodic embellishments of Nick Voutsakis' guitar solos and passages backed by the driving rhythm section of Mark Betterly's Bass Lines and John Morgan's Drum work. The combination leaves the listener with a memorable live and studio experience.
BetterDucks are headlining locally and opening for national touring bands at some the area's most intimate music venues. Check out a show and their first release "And Then Some" or sign up for their mailing list.
Cliff Hillis has released a new 6 song EP "Many Happy Returns" through San Francisco’s TallBoy Records on Friday June 9th. The title lightheartedly refers to Hillis revisiting his pop roots, most evident on the kickoff track of the same name, which meshes sunny harmonies with a memorable sing-along chorus.
Hillis's lyrics hits more serious notes on the jangle-rocker “Time An Evangelist”, a reflection on today's fractured political landscape, and the sneakily smooth 70's sounding breakup song "Superfluous".
The 6 songs feature Hillis's playing at the forefront, but he gets by with a little help from his musical friends including Ben Arnold, Greg Maragos, Pat Berkery (War On Drugs, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah), David Kershner, Fred Berman (Amos Lee), Corin Ashley, Amy Fairchild and others. Co-writes include noted songwriters Dan Bern and Bill DeMain.
Although each track has it’s own distinct sound, there’s no mistaking Cliff Hillis’ voice ringing through clear as a bell, backed by lush instrumentation, driving guitars and floating synth sounds. Hillis's songs are sure to find you making many happy returns to this EP.
Hillis' work has recently garnered praise from notable songwriters:
"Cliff is taking some chances while also delivering some solid pop production, the stuff you'd expect from a big fan of big pop. it's a blast to listen to." - Mike Viola, acclaimed recording artist, producer, and composer
"You know who's really good? Cliff Hillis." - Rhett Miller, singer/songwriter, Old '97s