The Desert Rose Band

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The Desert Rose Band
Pictured from left to right Herb Pedersen, Chris Hillman and John Jorgenson
Background information
OriginCalifornia, United States
GenresCountry, country rock, bluegrass
Years active1985–1994; 2008–present
LabelsMCA, Curb
Associated actsThe Byrds
Flying Burrito Brothers
Souther-Hillman-Furay Band
The Strangers
MembersChris Hillman
Herb Pedersen
John Jorgenson
Past membersJay Dee Maness
Steve Duncan
Tom Brumley
Jeff Ross
Tim Grogan
Bill Bryson

The Desert Rose Band is a US country rock band from California founded by Chris Hillman (formerly of the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers) along with Herb Pedersen and John Jorgenson in 1985. Rounding out the original lineup were Bill Bryson on bass guitar, Jay Dee Maness on pedal steel guitar, and Steve Duncan on drums. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the band charted several hit singles on the US Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts until disbanding in February 1994.


The Desert Rose Band was formed in 1985 by frontman Chris Hillman (born December 4, 1944), formerly a member of The Byrds, and co-founder, along with the late Gram Parsons of the country-rock band The Flying Burrito Brothers. Additional members included John Jorgenson (born July 6, 1956), who was mainly responsible for the instrumental arrangements of the songs; Herb Pedersen (born April 27, 1944) for the vocal arrangements. Herb sang the high tenor part above Chris' tenor and each Desert Rose Band album featured Herb on one lead vocal. Drummer Steve Duncan (born July 28, 1953) and bassist Bill Bryson (1946-2017) provided background vocals. Pedal steel player Jay Dee Maness (born January 4, 1945) rounded out the group.


1987-1989: The Desert Rose Band and Running[edit]

Their eponymous debut album was issued in 1987 on MCA/Curb, it contained their first hit "Ashes of Love" which was a Johnnie & Jack song from the early 1950s. It was the second time Hillman and Pedersen recorded "Ashes of Love," the first being on Hillman's just prior album Desert Rose on the Sugar Hill label; the Desert Rose Band's debut also featured a remake of Chris Hillman's "Time Between" which he previously wrote and recorded as a member of the Byrds, as well as the band's first chart-topper "He's Back and I'm Blue".

Their second album Running (1988) featured the John Hiatt-penned hit "She Don't Love Nobody", "Running", and a remake of Buck Owens's "Hello Trouble".

1990-1993: Pages of Life, True Love and Life Goes On[edit]

The third album Pages of Life (1990) featured a remake of "Desert Rose" as well as a remake of Pedersen's folk song about his daughter "Our Baby's Gone" which was originally recorded on his 1976 album Southwest. Jay Dee Maness left the band in 1990 and was replaced on pedal steel guitar by Tom Brumley whom Jay Dee replaced in the Buckaroos. Jay Dee Maness would again play with Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen on their post Desert Rose Band duo albums Bakersfield Bound and Way Out West.

The fourth studio album, True Love, was released in 1991, it was followed by 1993's Life Goes On, released only in Europe. Several prominent country and bluegrass musicians made guest appearances on Life Goes On including Sam Bush on fiddle, Tony Rice and Larry Park (of Boy Howdy) on guitar, and Al Perkins on dobro. Before the release of this final studio album, was the 1993 compilation Traditional.

John Jorgenson and Steve Duncan left the band in 1991. Jorgenson would go on to form the Hellecasters with Will Ray and Jerry Donahue; Duncan would join the Hellecasters as well. John Jorgenson is currently playing gypsy jazz with his John Jorgenson Quintette. Chris and Herb recorded an acoustic album called The Other Side in 2005, they continue to tour as an acoustic duo. Former Buck Owens steel player Tom Brumley played with Joey Riley's band in Branson, Missouri, he died on February 3, 2009.

2008-present: Reunion[edit]

Chris Hillman, Herb Pedersen, Jay Dee Maness, John Jorgenson, Bill Bryson, and Steve Duncan performed their first reunion concert on August 27, 2008, at the Belly Up in Solana Beach, CA. Before this date Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen were, as a duo, joined by John Jorgenson on 2 May 2008 for a small DRB set; the full lineup is the best known and included all of the original members present on the hit albums and singles from the 1980s. At this show in Nashville, Hillman stated that it was the first time that they had played together in 19 years, they went through a string of DRB hits, but were unable to play "He's Back & I'm Blue" because Hillman had forgotten the words. This sold-out show prompted Hillman and the band to play a handful of other reunion shows at clubs and music festivals throughout the U.S. Several of the reunion shows were to be recorded for inclusion on an upcoming live album; this would be the only official live album released by the Desert Rose Band. However, the project was later delayed and pushed back until further notice.

In January 2012, the Desert Rose Band performed at the 50th Anniversary celebration for Takamine guitars. Jorgenson, Hillman and Pedersen each played Takamine guitars; the concert was professionally filmed and can be seen on the official Takamine YouTube channel.


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak positions
US Country
The Desert Rose Band 24
  • Release date: September 6, 1988
  • Label: MCA/Curb Records
Pages of Life
  • Release date: January 16, 1990
  • Label: MCA/Curb Records
17 187
True Love
  • Release date: October 1, 1991
  • Label: Curb Records
Life Goes On
  • Release date: September 21, 1993
  • Label: Curb Records
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Compilation albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak positions
US Country
A Dozen Roses – Greatest Hits
  • Release date: January 4, 1991
  • Label: MCA/Curb Records
  • Release date: January 26, 1993
  • Label: Curb Records
Best of the Desert Rose Band
  • Release date: February 11, 2014
  • Label: Curb Records
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


Year Single Peak positions Album
US Country
CAN Country
1987 "Ashes of Love" 26 37 The Desert Rose Band
"Love Reunited" 6 5
"One Step Forward" 2 2
1988 "He's Back and I'm Blue" 1 1
"Summer Wind" 2 2 Running
"I Still Believe in You" 1 1
1989 "She Don't Love Nobody" 3 4
"Hello Trouble" 11 11
"Start All Over Again" 6 3 Pages of Life
1990 "In Another Lifetime" 13 18
"Story of Love" 10 6
1991 "Will This Be the Day" 37 44 A Dozen Roses – Greatest Hits
"Come a Little Closer" 65 67
"You Can Go Home" 53 64 True Love
"Twilight Is Gone" 67 82
1993 "What About Love" 71 Life Goes On
"Night After Night"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Music videos[edit]

Year Video Director
1988 "He's Back and I'm Blue"
"Summer Wind" Neil Abramson
1989 "She Don't Love Nobody" Bill Pope
1990 "In Another Lifetime" Bill Pope
1991 "Will This Be the Day" Gerry Wenner
"You Can Go Home" Gustavo Garzón
1993 "What About Love" Michael Merriman


  1. ^ a b "The Desert Rose Band - Country Albums". Billboard. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  2. ^ "The Desert Rose Band - Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  3. ^ "The Desert Rose Band - Hot Country Songs". Billboard. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  4. ^ Peak chart positions for country singles of The Desert Rose Band in Canada:

External links[edit]