Robin Hilton

Robin Hilton is the producer and co-host for the popular NPR Music show All Songs Considered.

In addition to his work on All Songs, Hilton curates NPR Music's First Listen series, a weekly showcase of select albums you can read about and hear in their entirety before they're officially released.

Prior to joining NPR in 2000, Hilton co-founded Small Good Thing Productions, a non-profit production company for independent film, radio and music in Athens, GA.

Hilton lived and worked in Japan as an interpreter for the government, and taught English as a second language to junior high school students.

From 1989 to 1996, Hilton worked for NPR member stations KANU and WUGA as a senior producer and assistant news director and was a long-time contributing reporter to NPR's daily news programs All Things Considered and Morning Edition.

Hilton is also a multi-instrumentalist and composer. His original scores have appeared in work from National Geographic, Center Stage and in films, including the documentary Open Secret. Hilton also arranged and performed the theme for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered. You can hear more of his music here.

Along the way, Hilton worked as an emergency room orderly, a blackjack dealer and a fruitcake factory assembly lineman.

This week's puzzler draws mostly on Top 40 hits and as such, should be pretty easy for some careful listeners. Then again, every time I say that people tank ... just like they get near-perfect scores whenever I think it's a particularly hard week. So what do I know?

I do know that Drum Fill Friday is going on a brief hiatus after this week for some technical maintenance work. But we hope to back in a few weeks.

On paper, the musical Hamilton sounds like a joke. But as NPR Music's Timmhotep Aku tells us in this week's +1 podcast, "Maybe you shouldn't judge things on face value."

When a legendary band returns after a long hiatus the results are often cringe-worthy—or mixed, at best. To be fair, it's nearly impossible to recapture the kind of magic that makes legends to begin with. But that's not the case with a surprise new album from the Electric Light Orchestra.

Due out Nov. 13, Alone In The Universe is ELO's first album of all-new songs in nearly 15 years, and only the band's second since 1986. "When I Was A Boy" is the opening track and first single.

Ian Chang is a gigantically talented drummer. You may have seen him recently in a Tiny Desk performance with the band Son Lux, but he's also known for his work with the bands Landlady and Body Language.

On this week's +1 podcast, we go to Nashville where host Bob Boilen has been making new discoveries at the Americana Music Festival, and attended the Americana Music Awards ceremony. Boilen chats with co-host Robin Hilton about this year's three biggest winners: Lucinda Williams, Sturgill Simpson and Shakey Graves.

Singer Sharon Van Etten has turned Donovan's gently strummed acoustic song, "Teen Angel" into a powerful, electrified ballad, with some of the most potent vocals she's ever recorded. The cover, which appears on a new Donovan tribute album, is still relatively spare, yet Van Etten injects it with an extra jolt of heartache and longing as she belts out the chorus.

This week's show is split much like some of our favorite records: The A-side is loud and fast. The B-side is slow and quiet.

What can I say? You caught me in a good mood and I'm feeling generous. This week's Drum Fill Friday is a lowly one out of five stars for difficulty. I'd give it zero stars, but there's one song that I admit not everyone on the planet has probably heard, though they should. I'll leave it to you to decide which one I'm thinking of. And as always, good luck, careful listeners.