By all accounts, 2016 was the best year of Hillsburn’s young career. The quintet released an album, In The Battle Years, in March, wound up a successful inaugural national tour in September, and, in December, won a Canadian Folk Music Award for "New/Emerging Artist of the Year".
By the time the group started touring in support of the album that spring, their sound had already changed. What had started as a string band now decidedly was not. Synths and electric guitar had replaced banjo and mandolin, and the addition of Clare Macdonald on drums had helped push things more in the direction of pop and rock.