Heartwood - 1972 to 1975

Heartwood - Country Rock

Heartwood formed in Greenville, NC in early 1972.  The band was originally called The Band from Clayroot which was a little crossroads outside of Greenville.  We recorded our first album in a studio in Baily, NC.  It was at that time that we changed our name due to pressure from the record company that was concerned about the 'obvious' sexual connotation of the word clayroot.  We played throughout North Carolina.  Just after releasing the album, it was bought by GRC Records based in Atlanta.  Their new A&R guy decided that the record should be re-recorded at their new studio in Atlanta. We went in the studio and recorded all the tracks and the 'new' Heartwood album was released.  Our management company, also located in Atlanta started booking us in Georgia and Alabama a lot so we decided to move to Athens, GA. to be closer to our record company and the new area of gigs.  Our third album, "Nothin' Fancy", was produced by Paul Hornsby who also produced all the early albums of Charlie Daniels and Marshall Tucker Band.  By a strange twist of fate, the same day this album went on sale, Lynard Skynard also released an album titled Nothing Fancy which was spelled differently.  The band toured extensively from the Southeast to the Southwest, opening for groups such as The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The Earl Scruggs Review, Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Mother's Finest.  We went on two album promotional tours.  The first tour took us to several towns in Texas including jobs where we opened for Asleep at the Wheel, and Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys.  The second tour found us back in Texas and then off to L.A. for a Billboard talent showcase to get a national booking agency contract. Unfortunately no booking contract followed and we found ourselves playing more and more back in North Carolina.  With Charlie Daniels and Toy Caldwell (lead guitarist for Marshall Tucker) scheduled to appear on Heartwood's next album, the future looked bright.  However, with the somewhat sudden demise of our record company, coupled with years of constant touring, the band decided to bring things to an end and pursue other interests.  We moved to the Triangle area of North Carolina before disbanding in August of 1975.  

Please visit our reunion website: heartwood1975.com

Listen to "Lover And A Friend" from our Nothin' Fancy album on YouTube
(Sorry about the ad but we have no control over it)

The following is an article that appeared in "Teen World" magazine in 1975.


    When certain new groups come along, you can just imagine what they did before they ever recorded their first album.  Heartwood is one such group, and you can easily imagine them playing their super-fine Country-tinged music in small clubs and bars.  Their first album is called "Nothin Fancy" (GRC Records), and it's a sheer pleasure all the way to listen to.  Heartwood's sound reminds this reviewer of a few other groups (the Allman Brothers, early Poco), but it's so easy on the ear, that it doesn't matter.  This is a Southern group, working out of Atlanta, and the members are Bill Butler (on keyboards, dobro, and Arp synthesizer), Joe McGlohon (on pedal steel, alto sax, and guitar), Tim Hildebrandt (on acoustic and rhythm guitars), Gary Johnson (on bass guitar), Byron Paul (on lead guitar), Carter Minor (on harmonica and percussion), and Robert Hudson (on drums).  All the songs were written by various group members, and everybody in the group (except Joe) sings.  The multiplicity of voices and instruments make this album full.
    "Lover and a Friend" is one of the fine songs.  It has that Country-Western sound, with the whining dobro and pedal steel.  It's nice and bouncy, and has real mellow vocals.  A lovely soft Country ballad is "Guaranteed to Win", with these great lyrics, "Open up your heart/And let sweet love come in/'Cause when you heart is full of love/You're guaranteed to win", with sentiments such as that, how can you go wrong?
    "Rock 'n' Roll Range" has a jug-band-like-sound, with lively tempo and varied singing.  "Is it My Body of My Breath?" is a funky, funny little tune, with just the title for words.  One fine, short instrumental is "Sittin' on the Hood of my Car", with a sweet harmonica playing.  "I'd Like to Be with You" has a soft, moving dobro introduction; it's a very pretty song.
    The best song on the album is "Sunshine Blue", with it's haunting vocals and dynamite guitar riffs.  Again the pedal steel dominates, and some of the words are, "In the morning/Don't be sad 'cause I'm leaving/Just remember that my love is in my song".  Two of the other good songs here are "Sound Advice" (a rocking, but lyrical tune) and "Home Bars and City Lights" (a warm, down-home song).  Not many new groups come along who can work their way into your heart so quickly, but Heartwood is on of them.  Definitely give this album a chance!

Tim Hildebrandt - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Byron Paul - Lead Guitar, Vocals
Joe McGlohon - Pedal Steel Guitar, Saxophone
Carter Minor - Harmonica, Percussion, Vocals
Bill Butler - Piano, Dobro, Electric Guitar, Vocals
Gary Johnson - Bass Guitar, Vocals
Robert Hudson - Drums, Vocals

Tim and I were interviewed by Todd Whitesel for TheClassicRockMusic blog in 2008.
 Read his online blog!

Where are they now?

Bill Butler    www.thetroupersdanceband.com
Bill and his wife Laura are proud grandparents of four granddaughters, enjoy flower gardening, and love their dogs. His son, James, (Heartwood’s earliest groupie/roadie/mascot) lives in Raleigh and works for Hospice of Wake County. Bill retired in 2010 as business manager at The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. He studied classical piano for nine years, performed at the 1964 World’s Fair (Durham High School Wind Ensemble), appeared in concert with Stan Getz at age 16 (baritone horn), and played guitar with the ECU Jazz Ensemble. After Heartwood, he founded Nightshift, and has continually played thoughout the Southeast US with Johnny White, Mainstream, The Fabulous Shades, The Tarwater Band, and Stanley Baird. In 2000, Bill founded The Troupers a successful dance band playing jazz, R&B, and pop dance classics, and occasionally plays at his church. He has caddied for a PGA tour event and enjoys the occasional golf game. Bill passed away in 2023.

Tim Hildebrandt    www.timhildebrandtmusic.com
Has been performing and recording music throughout his life but, first and foremost he is a songwriter. Born in Woodstock NY Tim grew up in a military family and traveled the world until settling into North Carolina for high school and college. Although Elvis, the Everly Brothers and the Beatles were his earliest influence, Tim’s songwriting reflects the breadth of his musical career from soul to country rock. He paid his way through college playing in a group that for a time worked as a house band backing up old soul acts like the Dixie Cups (“Going To The Chapel”) and Major Lance (“Gypsy Woman”). He signed his first recording contract while playing in Heartwood and was produced by the legendary Paul Hornsby who also produced the Marshall Tucker Band and Charlie Daniels. While with Heartwood Tim shared the stage with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Delbert McClinton, Jerry Jeff Walker, Earl Scruggs, Vassar Clements, and Steve Martin. In 1992 Tim won an Emerging Artist grant for songwriting and moved to Nashville where he met writer and publisher Jerry Capehart who had penned arguably one of the best rock ‘n’ roll songs of all time “Summertime Blues”. Jerry also wrote “Turn Around Look At Me” for Glen Campbell. Jerry became Tim’s publisher and friend until his death in 1998. As a testament to Tim’s songwriting one of Tim’s works “My Old Summertime”, was chosen by the Disney Channel for its TV show “Even Stevens” which is now in syndication. Tim describes himself as a song writer who is a story teller. His songs meld his past musical experiences with lyrics that chronicle our shared stories. Listeners find his music both compelling and accessible. In 2011 he released the CD “Hombres” followed in 2012 by an EP “6 Of 1”. In November 2013 he released the CD “Loco Love” and most recently is finishing up his new CD “After All These Years”. His CDs are available on itunes, CDBaby, Amazon.com and at his web site www.timhildebrandtmusic.com. Tim currently lives in Aiken, South Carolina where he owns and operates CamelBack Studio. He is also the Concert Coordinator for the Mayo Clinic’s weekly concert series in Rochester, Minnesota.

Robert Hudson    www.roberthudson.org
Lives in Durham and is now retired after working at the EPA Human Studies Facility in Chapel Hill since Heartwood disbanded. He has continued playing in bands since then and currently plays in the Pagan Hellcats and is drummer for the Praise Team at Sunrise Church.
Over the years he has had the great good fortune to play in Germany with The Tim Stambaugh Band, and in Ireland with Rain Dance and with The Brenda Linton Band. Visit his website to find out what else he has been doing in the intervening years.

Gary Johnson
Lived in Cary, NC. We were unable to locate Gary at the time of our reunion and so he did not participate in the shows. He has retired from playing music. Gary passed away in 2023.

Joe McGlohon    www.joemcglohon.com
From the early days of playing pedal steel guitar with Heartwood way back in 1972 to his five-year stint as Reba McEntire's sax player and musical director, Joe has played with some of the best. And some of the others too. There's no question that anyone who survived six years with the notorious Good Humor Band is a wild man. Or insane. It's a fine line. And a sweet sounding line it is.
Joe sat in with Gov't Mule for a tribute to BB King at Shepherd's Bush Empire, joined by Elliott Randall and Bernie Marsden.
Joe joined the Jamal Thomas Band on a small tour of Crimea!
Joe sat in with Gov't Mule on this year's July London tour, joined by Bernie Marsden from Whitesnake and Don Airey of Deep Purple.
Joe played Wimbley Stadium with Reba!
Joe joined headliner Reba McEntire at the International Festival of Country Music.
Joe's moved again! This time to Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England and is married to his lovely bride, Helen Rochelle-McGlohon.

Carter Minor    www.robertgriffin.com/musicbio_bluespot.html
Lives in Carrboro and has retired from Cary Christian School where he taught music and band and was also the Facility
Administrator. He was an Associate Minister and worship leader at Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Chapel Hill.
After Heartwood he sang and played harmonica in various bands including Nightshift, Lagniappe, Steps, The Gorilla Blues Band
with Scott Sawyer, The Powerhitters and Blue Spot in C Minor with Robert Griffin.
After a long absence from performing he now plays with Armand Lenchek and Bluesology, Danny Gotham, Robert
Griffin and others.

Byron Paul
Lives in Raleigh and provides technical support for the customers of a software company. After Heartwood disbanded, he toured with BJ Thomas' band of BJ Thomas; spending four years playing rhythm guitar and singing harmony.  He is married and has 3 children and several grandchildren. His wife Barbara says he plays a mean radio.


From some of our fans...

July 24, 2010

" Robert,  my name is Pat A.  I am 47, and live in Bloomington Indiana, I am the Senior Minister for a local Church.  
I was cleaning out a closet today and ran across Nothin' Fancy by Heartwood.  
I lived in Indianola Texas growing up in the mid 70's.   My mom managed a place called Hillards Cabins.  One day I came home from school, probably an 8th grader and HEARTWOOD had taken up residence in the cabins for a few days.  I spent some time with all of you, you all played one night at a local bar, mainly for practice, and had a few days of relaxation while you all were touring.  I am not sure what year it was, probably '74 maybe?  I have always remembered that time with your band.  I was like the local hero cause you were staying at our place...LOL,  but you all were great and treated me super.  I really enjoyed it.  

Anyway I have a copy of your album signed by the entire band.  It brought back great memories,  I listened to that album a lot and really enjoyed your music.  I had not looked you all up on the net until today,  I am listening to your music right now.  Thanks for putting it up as I have no way to play the album anymore.

Thanks for the memories,  A Heartwood Fan,  Pat A.
July 12, 2010

Thank you so much for putting these songs on your website!! They bring back such great memories. Are they available on CD or as mp3 files?
A neighbor gave me a tape of Nothin' Fancy way back when...in the 70s...and I played it until it finally gave out. I've periodically checked on Amazon, but can only find it on vinyl. You will never know how much I would love to have that album on CD!! Thank you so very much! I will be glad to send you a check.
Sue E.
Warren, MI
January 9, 2009

I just discovered your website and have thoroughly enjoyed it, especially listening to the heartwood tracks while reading.  The original album is in my collection here, and I well recall hearing you guys at Dale M's in Whiteville and "Fat Cats" in N. Myrtle Beach.
Is there a cd for sale?
Thanks for the effort on the website, Jack H.
April 29, 2008

I wanted to thank you for putting up the Heartwood web page.  I have listened to Nothin Fancy all morning.
I grew up in Whiteville NC.  I was High School when you guys played at the NC Guard Armory there, and afterwards we used to drive to see you at N Myrtle Beach.  I can't remember the name of that club.  I went to UNC-CH in '75, where I believe I caught a show at a club on Franklin St once.
I owned the Nothin Fancy album way back when.  Guess I donated that to WXYC years ago when I gave them all my vinyl.
I enjoyed the band back then, and it was a lot of fun to listen again, plus read what you guys are doing now.  Thanks from a greying fan.
Peter Todd
November 6, 2008

Dear Robert,
I hope this e-mail finds you well. I was playing Heartwood's Nothin' Fancy album (yes, on vinyl) for my girlfriend the other night, and she asked, "Where did you find this? It's really good." I could only agree.
I wanted to introduce myself. My name is Todd Whitesel. I'm a former editor of two music magazines - Goldmine and Discoveries - and have written extensively about music and have published numerous reviews and interviews with many top artists and bands including Jackson Browne, Jethro Tull, Cheap Trick, King Crimson, Uriah Heep and Yes.
I have started a music blog (www.classicrockmusicblog.com), where I will be offering reviews, interviews, and general stories about undiscovered records, music news and the like. My focus will continue to be classic and new rock.
As such, I'm wondering if you'd be willing to be interviewed for my blog? I'd love to hear what you've been up to and revisit some of your earlier works. And I would also be happy to review any recent projects you've been working on.
Thank you for your time. 
Novemver 14, 2007

I've been a Heartwood fan since I first saw them play at Fat Cats Lounge in North Myrtle Beach in 1973. I still have the albums, even though they are scratched and well worn.
I was wondering if these albums were ever released on CD or if the tracks will ever be available on line (itunes or any other download service). I know this is a long shot since these albums have been out of circulation for quite a while.
I really enjoy your website and I have let several of my friends (also Heartwood fans) know where to find it.
Benny M.

May 27, 2006

Hi Robert,
Its amazing over the years how I have thought about hearing Heartwood playing at the Attic in Greenville during the 'hazy' time of my life. I had the 'nothin' fancy ' album and wore it out. This morning I found your website and had the pleasure of listening to the songs again. I drove my wife nuts as I sang along but I just couldn't help myself as I remembered the lyrics and the melodies. I was wondering if any copies of the cd are available. Those were mighty good times back then and your music was a special part of it. Thanks for the website and all the songs. Take care.

Steve H.
Williamston, NC 


     Tim Hildebrandt's website - www.timhildebrandtmusic.com
     Joe McGlohon's website - www.joemcglohon.com
     The Byron Paul Band - www.roberthudson.org/bpb.htm
     Carter Minor's band - www.robertgriffin.com/project_bluespot.html
     Paul Hornsby's website - www.mindspring.com/~songmaker/
     The Good Humor Band - www.goodhumorband.com


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