Byrds co-founder and ace musician Chris Hillman is on the verge of releasing “Bidin’ My Time,” a new album he’s recorded with Tom Petty co-producing, but at his home office and study in Ventura this August, the artist is in a reflective mood.
He reaches down toward a phalanx of instrument cases lining one wall of the building in which he conducts much of his business these days.
He snags one of the smaller ones, unzips the protective cloth cover, unsnaps the hard-shell case underneath and removes a gorgeous Lloyd Loar F5 model Gibson mandolin that looks as if it came out of the factory yesterday. It’s 93 years old.
“Stephen Stills gave this to me,” Hillman, 72, says...