Who the heck is “the Dill” and why has he released a 52-song debut album?
Dylan “the Dill” Hudecki played with long-running By Divine Right in the early 2000s—which was when the band was arguably at the height of its (limited) popularity. You’d be forgiven if you don’t remember him; literally dozens of people have floated in and out of that group, with singer/songwriter José Contreras being the only constant. But Hudecki was/is a bon vivant, a curious and engaging guy who makes friends easily. To make his debut album, he called upon some of those friends, including heavy hitters like Sarah Harmer, the Arkells’ Max Kernan, Rheostatics’ Martin Tielli, key members of Broken Social Scene, Born Ruffians, and various other all-stars from the Southern Ontario rock scene of the ’90s and 2000s. He started this project in 2002; the final tracks were finished earlier this year. As he jokes in his press release, “It was a 16-year labour, so this baby is an adolescent already.”
You’d be correct to be suspicious of all this: a little-known scenester making a bloated record of random recordings with all his famous and semi-famous friends? This doesn’t usually go well.
Here, however, it most definitely does.
Greeting From The Dill sounds like a guy who’s spent a lifetime immersed in all his favourite records and finally finds the time and talent to distill that passion into a song cycle that draws from rock, country, pop and psychedelia. The Dill’s vocals can be an acquired taste, but nothing about the performances or the production is remotely shabby; for a project that spans time periods and different studios and completely different personnel, it sounds remarkably consistent. The songwriting is surprisingly strong as well, with particular debts to ’50s and ’60s Brill Building style, particularly the doo-wop vibe of “Stop Time,” featuring Max Kerman.
The original release contained 52 songs and was sold as download that came with a physical deck of cards (of course), featuring artwork by 45 different visual artists. Twelve of those songs have been committed to a vinyl record by Elora label Dead Radio, Love [ed: yes, there’s a comma there], run by the same people who put on Riverfest every August, a festival which this year featured headliners the Flaming Lips—an act with which much of this album has a lot in common. (Aug. 10)
Stream: “Stop Time” (feat. Max Kerman), “Did I Drop the Ball or Miss the Boat,” “I Love You in Kenora” (feat. Sarah Harmer)