Band Members

Joe Butler

Born: Liverpool, England
Joe started his musical career after coming back from the Scottish Islands where he worked for the Forestry Commission. He worked in a music shop in Liverpool selling guitars but soon discovered he preferred to play them rather than s
ell them, so when he was asked to play bass guitar with The Cascades he jumped at the chance. The Cascades were a local beat group, but Joe has always preferred country music, so was one of the first members to form the Hillsiders.
Joe has produced albums for other bands and has also produced the Country Music programme with Radio City in Liverpool and in his spare time has promoted other bands.
Joe has always enjoyed touring with th
e Hillsiders and his hobbies having included song writing and Everton Football Club.
Kenny Johnson:

Born: Liverpool, England
Kenny was also one of the first members & lead singer of The Hillsiders. He left the band in 1975 to form his own band Kenny Johnson and the Northwind and continued to perform into the 1990's. Kenney still performs now as a solo artist.

Brian Hilton

Born: Birkenhead, England
Brian is a talented musician who plays guitar, dobro, mouthorgan & jews harp to name a few. He was one of the
first members to form The Hillsiders and prior to that he played in many country and beat groups in the Merseyside area.
Brian started playing the guitar as the age of 18 when he was still an apprentice fitter at Cammel lairds ship builders. He was inspired by the great Chet Atkins and Merle Travis. In fact, whilst he was in Nashville with the Hillsiders, Chet Atkins autographed a guitar strap for him which he still treasures.
Hobbies include writing songs, fishing and real ale. He is also fond of driving and was often seen behind the wheel of The Hillsiders’ bus.
Brian (Noddy) Redman

Born: Liverpool, England
Brian has been nicknamed “Noddy” for so many years now, he hardly remembers his real name. The nickname was given to him during many of the all night sessions in Germany. At t
his time, he played drums for a beat group called King Size Taylor and the Dominoes based in Hamburg. Back in Liverpool, he played with The Foremost and auditioned for The Who who were heavy rock groups.
Noddy knew Joe at the time The Hillsiders were being formed and he decided to swap the heavy rock for country music. It did not take him long to decide this was where his talents lay. He still loves all types of music but lists country music as his favourite. Before becoming a musician, Noddy was a TV aerial rigger. He lists his favourite drink as whiskey and bitter.
Ronnie Bennett

Born: Wirral, England
Ronnie replaced Frankie Wan as The Hillsiders steel guitar player in 1967. He played with the band until 1979 when he decided to concentrate on his own business of hand making steel guitars from his workshop on the Wirral, Merseyside. He still plays steel guitar in a band now.

Kevin McGarry

Born: Liverpool, England
Kevin started singing at school and he sang with his uncles George and John Nield, who played co
untry music in a band.
After leaving school, he worked as a butcher before deciding he wanted to make music his career. He was influenced by George Jones and still thinks he is the greatest country singer today. When The Hillsiders asked Kevin to join them, he was at the time playing in a country band called The Saddlers.
Amongst his hobbies are watching old movies, going out with his mates to the local pub, listening to other bands and writing songs. He loves experimenting with different hair styles and he lists whiskey and lager as his favourite drinks. His favourite football team is Liverpool Football Club and also likes watching horse-racing at Aintree.
Dave Rowland

Born: Birkenhead, England
Dave was a bus driver prior to joining The Hillsider. He played country music with a band called Harvey in the evenings and loves the steel guitar. He can also play the dobro. He is a great friend of Ronnie Bennett and he often went out with The Hillsiders on his free evenings.
One of Daves hobbies is repairing and renovating old motor bikes. Apart from being a bus driver, Dave has worked as a motorcycle mechanic and for a firm of ship builders. His parents were in the pub trade which is where he got a liking for the stuff. He loves lager, vodka, whiskey, home brew and wine. Another hobby is cycling to counteract the effects of the lager.
Frankie Wan
Born: Liverpool, England
Frankie played lead guitar for the band Sonny Webb and the Cascades before they changed the name to The Hisllsiders. Frankie was one of the first members & steel guitar player of The Hillsiders. He left the band in 1967.

Mick Kinney

Born: Liverpool, England
Mick replaced Joe Butler as bass player for The Hillsiders in 1993 and played with the band until they dispanded in 1999. Mick still plays bass guitar in a band now.

Producer: Ian Grant

The "Hillies" met Ian Grant at the BBC Studios in London where he was one of the producers of a show called "Country Meets Folk", which regularly featured The Hillsiders. They became great friends with Ian and Wally Whyton who presented the show and used to go for a pint with them after the shows. Ian was always supportive of what the band was trying to achieve in bringing British Country Music to a wide audience. The Hillsiders liked the sounds that Ian produced so much that they asked him to produce at least 6 of their albums. They were "By Request". " Our Country". "Leaving of Liverpool". " George Hamilton IV & The Hillsiders". Goodbye Scotty Road". and "To Please You". "The Hillies" and Ian remained friends for many years and he was indeed, very influential in their success.

Ford Transit (Long Wheel Base)

The last but certainly not the least unsung member of the Hillsiders was the good 'old faithful'. The Ford Transit fitted with 5 Aeroplane seats to ease those long tours up and down the country. Always in Red or Blue depending on which of the lads was signing the cheque.


Ron said...

How can I get in touch with Brian as I played in the Zeros with him before he laft for the HILLSIDERS.
RON humphreys

Anonymous said...

I can remember recording my two treacks for the Hillsiders album 'Goodbye Scottie Road'. my manager at the time submitted the name Rory Kain instead of my real name 'Jim Whitman' Regretably, I never recieved a copy of the album and would therefore ge grateful to recieve a copy if it is available.

Anonymous said...

I remember compering the Hillsiders in one of their last shows in Lincolnshire, I had been friendly with all the lads for many years ,so that last show was filled with great sadness They were the best of their kind in British Country Music. Graham Taylor

Auto2112Rush said...

My dad was the lead singer in the Saddlers,his name was Joe Houghton he died Oct 1966.I have an album he did of cover songs from the time

June said...

Just discovered your song Driver get me home on time - it's fabulous and I wish i could buy it on a CD or itunes Ever thought about re-recording ? Am listening to your songs, and i like them all! Brilliant.

kenny maclean said...

Miss Liverpool in the 60's. Loved The Hillsiders. I'm 72, but still playing Country on me Sho-Bud pedal steel. Love to hear from anyone who remembers me. Kenny MacLean.

michael oke said...

Looking back on the transit van seen you unload it many times at the village hall Bradworthy n.devon were my dad was caretaker brill times and brill music chaps

Unknown said...

the hillsiders I never heard of them before but on my YouTube channel in my cell phone I thought wow a British country and western music band from England that's nice I guess that country music insit just form the USA anymore