Music Monday: TJ Hill – Tortilla Factory

Tortilla Factory.

That is the name of the album that I am featuring on today’s Music Monday post. I was first introduced to TJ Hill by my brother, albeit a bit indirectly. I was browsing my brother’s Spotify listening history and saw this crazy title. According to the lasthistory plugin for Last.fm, the first day I listened to TJ Hill was December 18, 2012. If that’s true, it will almost be held in the same regard as December 7, 1941 in my mind.

A day that will live in infamy.

The most interesting thing about TJ Hill to me is that he’s so hard to describe. He doesn’t fit in a genre other than rock. It’s not that he’s transcending genres like Butch Walker, it’s that he’s so simply making amazingly beautiful music that doesn’t need to be defined. I cannot imagine someone hearing this album and not loving it1. In fact, I don’t recall telling a person about the album and having them say, “oh yeah, I didn’t love that album”. Seriously, this guy successfully worked a theremin into a song and it doesn’t sound like “Good Vibrations”. That is reason alone to buy the album. Also, there’s an Arrested Development (this one, not that one) reference.

It’s also a great album for those families with kids. Most days when I come home, I walk into the living room to find my wife and 15 month-old daughter listening and/or dancing to it. That brings such joy to my heart.

Here are 32 of my favorites.

Alabaster

“Weakness is a place I go, when a glimpse of you startles me.”

What a great way to open an album. The high-harmonies are to die for, the simple guitar lines, the build – it all gets me.

Snow Falls

I love the way this song sounds like someone is tinkering in a workshop. The way the bells & percussion come in around 1:10 is just ingenious. Plus, the dude is already into the second verse by 1:00. How skilled of a songwriter do you have to be to do that? Very skilled!

Dawn

Do you like crying while listening to music? No? Then don’t listen to this song. Seriously, it’s a beautiful tune that follows a couple’s love story in a very realistic way.

“How does a man make it through the day? Having found a perfect lover and then watching helplessly as cancer stole her away.

If these songs don’t move you, then you probably aren’t human. Go support some dude who works a real job and makes music because he loves it. Buy the album and help TJ buy some coffee or something.


  1. my friends will tell you that this is true and that I won’t stop hounding them to buy it or listen to it. 
  2. Ok, I couldn’t limit it to 3, so here’s a 4th track. Bird Allegory This song is just delightful. Again, it shows TJ’s skills at making a song build. An that you don’t have to have a Verse, Chorus, Verse, Bridge, Chorus 2x song to make something that is memorable and inviting.  
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2 thoughts on “Music Monday: TJ Hill – Tortilla Factory

  1. […] So I don’t remember what triggered me investigating their newer album[1], Before Now, Was Then, but I sure am glad that I did. There is so much to like about this album, from the etherial keys to the major gaps in percussion on some songs, it’s refreshing to hear. There’s a lot in this album that reminds me of TJ Hill’s Tortilla Factory which I wrote about here. […]

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