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Hilton Park is an Americana/Folk trio made up of a father, son and neighbor from a small town in Southern Maine who started playing music together for their own enjoyment, and within 8 months found themselves being recognized by the New England Music Awards as one of the best Roots acts in New England.  How did this father/son bonding experiment become the award winning group that the Boston Examiner says has “reinvented acoustic”?

“Hilton Park is about as New England as clam chowder and flour biscuits… rootsy folk that imparts an old time feel in brand new songs. A listener would undoubtedly imagine themself comfortably on an old front porch, right next to this dynamic trio”. 

The Third Half (Feb 5, 2016)

Bruce Hilton played guitar and sang as a front man in bands from his high school days up through his 40’s, including in a band called The Digbees from 2004 to 2012.  The Digbees landed licensing deals, placing some songs in prime time TV and movies, as well as a Red Sox anthem played at Boston’s Fenway Park and on cable TV’s New England Sports Network.

When the Digbees needed a keyboard player, Bruce was introduced to neighbor Gregg Pannier, who would become his close musical partner.  Gregg, originally from the Chicago area, was a classically trained organist and piano virtuoso.  Ironically, Bruce and Gregg met at a Cub Scout pack meeting their sons were attending.

Bruce’s youngest son, Conor, was one of those 9 year old cub scouts. With music around him his whole life, he displayed an affinity for drums and guitar at an early age.  In high school he was accepted into Chamber Choir and Vocal Excel, and fell in love with vocal harmony.

“They are the folks next door who just happen to be virtuoso musicians, styling traditional folk/country instruments with fresh and original tunes. But the biggest treat may be the vocal harmonies. Our audience was enthralled. Edge of our seats, truly”.

Ken G. – House Concert Host

In the spring of 2013, Bruce found himself at 49 gravitating toward a quieter acoustic style of songwriting, adding pedal steel guitar and lap steel to his list of instruments.  After writing a song on his newly acquired square neck dobro, he imagined a strong 2 part vocal harmony in the chorus.  He asked Conor to come upstairs to the home studio and sing the harmony with him on a demo.  The ethereal sound their voices made when played back stunned them both; the core of Hilton Park’s “blood harmony” was born.

“Hilton Park has made quite a name for itself in the circles of acoustic music. Their originals ring out in every note with pop brightness, harmonic finesse, and within the framework of good song craft….Hilton Park just might be the beginning of a huge music scene trend gaining more mainstream appeal.”

Bill Copeland Music News (Apr 28, 2014)

Conor and Bruce decided to write more original songs together and release a CD, Conor trading in his double-neck electric guitar for a mandolin.  They took the name Hilton Park from a local landmark in the nearby city of Dover NH, named after an ancestor of theirs who founded the city in 1629.  Family has played a strong role in Hilton Park, from the father/son dynamic to the ancestry present in their namesake.

When a piano track was needed for a song, Gregg was brought in, and his piano brought the Hilton Park sound a new elegance, while his voice blended to make a rich 3 part harmony that has been compared to Crosby, Stills and Nash.  Gregg’s piano and voice were added to every song, and the Hilton Park sound was established.

Hilton Park’s first album, “Greener Grass”, was released in the Fall of 2013, and included “Harder Times Coming”, the song Conor & Bruce originally collaborated on.  The Portsmouth Herald Spotlight called it, “One of the best sounding releases of the year…’Greener Grass’ is fresh. The production is sparkling. The acoustic instrumentation and vocal harmonies are top-notch. There’s no more vibrant color than green. That sentiment resonates throughout this stellar piece of work.”

“Hilton Park is creating a whole new genre for current music. They have reinvented acoustic”

Boston Examiner (May 13, 2015)

The best and most unexpected accolade to date came on New Year’s Day 2014, when Hilton Park was notified they had been nominated for the 2014 New England Music Award for “Roots Act of the Year”.  People started to take notice of the little trio with the big sound.  The band went on to win the 2015 New England Music Award for “Best In State; Maine”, an honor chosen from all genres of music.  After recording the album “Strings” in 2015, and a third NEMA nomination in 2016 for “Roots Act of the Year”, Hilton Park had hit a stride.

Winning the 2015 New England Music Award for "Best In State: Maine"

Winning the 2015 New England Music Award for “Best In State: Maine”

“…A tremendous salad bar for the soul, tastefully rooted in Americana territory. This trio’s real talent is making their listeners feel what they were feeling when they were writing these tunes.”  

Bill Copeland Music News (Nov 3, 2016)

Hilton Park’s stage show includes up to 10 acoustic instruments between Bruce & Conor, plus Gregg’s piano.  Six and 12 string guitars, dobro, mandolin, bouzouki, Weissenborn, dulcimer and others make the stage look like an exotic guitar boutique.  But it’s the band’s soaring three part harmonies that capture the audience’s breath, telling timeless stories that touch people’s souls. The band began touring from Maine to Virginia, and appearing on radio and TV regularly.  “Strings” was added to independent radio playlists in 40 markets.

In august 2017 Hilton Park released their third album, “Moments…” adding new instruments and more complex arrangements to their songs.  Played by over 50 independent radio stations across the country, the album earned them a fourth NEMA nomination for “Album of the Year”, another title chosen from among thousands of album submissions from all musical genres.  The song “Stupid Game” won a Academia Music Award for ‘Best Song’, Folk Singer/Songwriter category.

Hilton Park has that one-in-a-million voice you never encounter in person, and the compositional skill to make good on the gift; ‘Stupid Game’ is a stylish salve for modern music.”

Akademia, (June 16, 2017)

In 2017, Bruce, Conor and Gregg began using their award-winning songwriting skills for a side project called “The Songshop”, where they compose and record personalized songs for weddings, anniversaries, non-profit organizations, and other events.

Hilton Park continues to share their unique blend of timeless tales and soulful “blood harmony” with audiences young and old. More importantly, they are proving that musicians over 50 can still be fresh, new independent artists in the Americana/Folk scene, and that in an industry where individual talent often goes unnoticed, generations of family unity and harmony can prevail.

Every story has a song; and Hilton Park continues to weave stories into instantly classic melodies and lyrics.

Fan Reviews

  • “[Hilton Park’s] songwriting is so uplifting  I did not hesitate to buy three copies of the “Moments…” CD … The harmonies just resonate with your soul, too.  Experiencing live music is a great way to spend money!”   -Nancy B. 
  • “The sound was tight and the vocals, often angelic, were spot on with that vibe you can only get at a live performance. [Moments] is clearly one of those CD’s I will load and play start to finish, not one that makes me want to cherry pick. The stories behind the songs, the trademark instrument swaps, camaraderie, banter and antics made it all feel like a performance by friends”.   -Pete B.
  • “They are the folks next door who just happen to be virtuoso musicians, styling traditional folk/country instruments with fresh and original tunes. But the biggest treat may be the vocal harmonies. Our audience was enthralled. Edge of our seats, truly”. -Ken G.

Radio Reviews

  • “Hilton Park is a band that sounds so different…the vocals are unique, the sound is unique, even the structure of the songs is different …they are at the crossroad of many influences but sound like nobody…melodies are infectious… I will air tracks 1,2,4,8″ – Mike Penard, SA Radio (France)