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Billy Pilgrim (sold out)

#26 Billy Pilgrim
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: …to the Billy Pilgrim duo. They will playa rare set of shows May 17 and 18.
Friday May 17, 2024 09:00 PM EDT
Cost: $25+ (sold out)

CRITIC’S PICK: Happy 34th anniversary to Billy Pilgrim, the duo of Andrew Hyra and Kristian Bush, who return for one of their rare reunions. While they didn’t create the huge splash nationwide that their music deserved, the folk/pop duo was hot around their Atlanta home and nearby southern states. And, of course, Bush went on to stardom with Sugarland. Apparently their “Insomniac” song still gets enough occasional airplay to keep their name alive, perhaps due to the backing vocal assistance of the Indigo Girls. These three shows immediately sold out, which attests to their continued popularity .— Hal Horowitz
$25+. 9 p.m. (5/17),7 & 9 p.m. (5/18) Eddie’s Attic, 515-B N. McDonough St., Decatur, 30030.404-377-4976. eddiesattic.com

From the venue:

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Folk rock duo Billy Pilgrim, comprised of Andrew Hyra and Kristian Bush, will celebrate its 34th anniversary in 2024 with a rejuvenated dedication to soulful storytelling, artful harmonies and an understanding that the duo – just like its members – is creatively weightier and more diverse than contemporary labels.

“There were so many things that were interesting about Kristian and me as musical compatriots,” Hyra said. “Both of us are strong, individualist writers, but we have a unique harmony. You can have a unique voice and the other guy can have a unique voice, but when you sing together, that’s a transcendent thing.”

The men met in 1990 at a songwriters’ night in Knoxville, Tennessee. They recorded and released five albums by 2001 — two on Atlantic Records that were rich with songs, including “Sweet Louisiana Sound” and “Insomniac,” a cultural phenomenon with such legs it was recently profiled in the New York Times 29 years after its release.

Named for a character in Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse Five,” Billy Pilgrim was the first band for Bush and Hyra, who each found additional musical success outside of the duo. Hyra co-founded the Smokin’ Novas with Atlanta guitarist Brian Bristow and producer/engineer Don McCollister. Bush formed multi-platinum-selling, Grammy-winning duo Sugarland, launched his solo career, started writing musicals and produces chart-topping country singer Megan Moroney.

Billy Pilgrim went on hiatus for more than a decade while Bush and Hyra pursued outside ventures. But the duo reunited at the 2015 30A Songwriter Festival. Bush was in the midst of his solo set when Hyra walked on stage and finished the song.

Since then, Billy Pilgrim released “In the Time Machine,” an album initially believed lost in a studio fire in 2000. The master recordings were a causality of the blaze, but Bush found a copy while going through his closets during coronavirus quarantine. The men dropped “Billy Pilgrim Is Your Friend (Live from the Studio)” one year later.

In 2023, Bush featured Billy Pilgrim on “Love and Blue Jeans” and “Longneck with Jesus” on his “52|This Year” album. The fresh songs lean more Americana than folk and are true to the duo’s East Tennessee heritage.
“Musical stuff for me is about chemistry, and it’s the kind of chemistry you don’t know until you’re in it,” Bush said. “Creative chemistry is how I bounce up against Andrew and he bounces up against me and it’s a complete mystery. Expect when it happens, it’s completely absorbing.”

Billy Pilgrim played a host of shows in 2023, with more slated for 2024. Bush and Hyra have honed their harmony for over three decades, and this year, the men are poised to re-introduce their defining nimble blend to new fans coast to coast.

More information


6a583 Eddie S Attic Magnum
515 N. McDonough St.
Decatur, GA 30030
(404) 377-4976
neighborhood: #decaturga