Steve Hill, the one-man band Blues Rock machine, released his new album ‘Solo Recordings: Volume 3’ on No Label Records on Friday 6th October in the UK. Steve hails from Montreal, Canada, and he’s a multi-award winning Blues Rock guitarist and singer-songwriter who’s gearing up for world domination. He’s literally a one-man band guitar machine and does it all (by himself) with no overdubs or tapes. How can one musician sound like three? Steve performs standing up while singing and playing guitar, his feet playing bass drum, snare drum, hi-hats and with a drum stick fused to the head of his trusty guitar, any other percussion within reach and he gets the bass notes by feeding three of his strings through an Octaver guitar pedal that’s hooked up to a bass amp!
Steve’s an overnight sensation that’s twenty years in the making. He’s an ambitious and raucous force to be reckoned with on the Canadian and international Blues Rock scene. Now, he’s ready to break out internationally. Following the success of his JUNO nominated ‘Solo Recordings: Volume 1’, which also won "Album of The Year" at the International Blues Challenge in 2013, and JUNO Award winner ‘Solo Recordings: Volume 2’, Steve Hill first released his brand new album ‘Solo Recordings: Volume 3’ in Canada in March 2016. In January 2015, Hill was awarded four coveted Maple Blues Awards including Electric Act of the Year, Guitarist of the Year, Recording/Producer of the Year and Entertainer of the Year. Solo Recordings: Volume 2 won the 2015 JUNO Award for Blues Album of the Year.
Throughout his career, Steve has shared the stage with many of his musical heroes including Ray Charles, BB King, ZZ Top, Jimmie Vaughan, Hubert Sumlin, Jeff Beck and many others. Over the course of nine albums he's explored everything from Hard Rock, Country, and Stoner Rock to Folk music while always incorporating the essence of his first love, the Blues. Steve’s reputation as an exciting performer has provided him the opportunity to showcase his talents at some of Canada’s biggest music festivals including the Montreal Jazz Festival, Ottawa Bluesfest, Jazz Winnipeg Festival, Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, Kitchener Blues Festival and more.
Hill kicks off the first of twelve tracks with the Heavy Rock of ‘Damned’ – the influence of namesake Dusty, Billy and Frank immediately palpable before his kick-ass single ‘Dangerous’ – think King King meets Jimi Hendrix – a Blues Rocker if ever there was one, with lyrics about a personal relationship, the subject matter pretty much the backbone of the whole album. The swampy feel of Muddy Waters ‘Still A Fool & A Rollin Stone’ is a classy cover, Hill clearly demonstrating that you can take the catfish out of the swamp but you can’t take the swamp out of the catfish. The acoustic ‘Slowly Slipping Away’ clearly demonstrates not only more facets to Hill’s armoury, namely harmonica and the crystal clarity of his voice, but also that he can mix his musical genre’s up a bit - which benefits the overall freshness and melodic balance of ‘Solo Recordings: Volume 3’.
The name of the next two outright rockers rather aptly sums Hill’s undoubted talent up. Both his strong bass line and slide guitar prowess are showcased on the ‘Rhythm All Over’ – the influence of his bearded buddies (with the exception of Beard of course) again coming through loud and clear, whilst the Rock 'n’ Roll delivery of ‘Smoking Hot Machine’, with its harmonica/guitar fusion, smacks of Jeff Lynne. Hill then literally takes his foot of the pedal for ‘Troubled Times’, which sees a beautiful acoustic solo from Hill's naked guitar – so reminiscent of Simon & Garfunkel and a riff similar to Queen’s ‘Liar’. Another acoustic piece, a love song and his latest single ‘Emily’, makes you question whether Hill has been on the Labatt’s, as this time it’s about a happy relationship. Steady on now Steve!
The one man band Blues Rock machine returns with the groovy rock of ‘Can’t Take It With You’ with its Booker T ‘Green Onions’ style riff. Brilliant. And talking of getting into the Blues groove, the medley of Hambone Willie Newbern's Blues classic ‘Rollin & Tumblin’ (better known for its Muddy Waters take) and Robert Johnson's ‘Stop Breaking Down’, sees Hill’s slide guitar and latterly his two pedal drums and assorted percussion going into appropriate overdrive.
The penultimate track sees more beautiful acoustic guitar with the stripped back white Blues take of ‘Going Down The Road Feeling Bad’, better known for entirely different covers by Woody Guthrie and The Grateful Dead. And finally, talking of waking the dead, another rocker ‘Walking Grave’ sees Hill return back to more heavy/slide guitar – such a shame that Steve has to head bang all alone!
This album shows an artist at the top of his game. Steve Hill is clearly in his element as a solo artist and one-man band, inviting listeners into a world of musical madness in the form of Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll. Hill undertakes a 27-date UK tour when he supports Wishbone Ash in October and November including London’s O2 Academy, Islington on Thursday 19th October. Do not miss this definition of a one-man power trio!