When Steve Hill was a lad, he discovered the blues much the same way many people do.
Through the music and words of others…
“Everytime I would hear guys like Jimmy Page talk about music, they would always be talking about people like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Robert Johnson. This is how I learned the blues, by listening to my heroes’ heroes.”
For Steve Hill – that was eighteen years ago and a lot has happened in between. A lot has happened yet Steve finds himself back where he started with his new cd – Steve Hill Solo Recordings Volume One.
Sorta, kinda …
“I had written some songs years ago that were acoustic – stripped down stuff. I was meeting a record guy in Toronto to sign a deal with that type of music. Well … the deal did not go through and the songs stayed hidden.”
Hill explains further.
“It was not the right time anyways for me. I was into electric guitar and hard rocking music. Now – I feel after all these years, I deserve and have earned to do what I want. In this case, a solo show.”
This is a big change for Steve after recently playing a recent Montreal Jazz Festival gig at Place des Arts with another guitarist, Paul Deslauriers. It was billed as a ‘ Guitar Duel ‘ and Hill enjoyed the experience immensely.
” I actually replaced Paul years ago in a band. He was one of the guys I looked up to growing up in the business. It was cool to play with him and the fans loved it.They kept coming back for more.”
Guitar duels are not heard on Steve’s new project. It is a one man show which features mostly original tunes with a couple of covers tossed into the mix – most notably ‘ Honey Bee’ by Muddy Waters. Hill explains how the album came to be.
” I was visiting a buddy and he had an old Gibson lying around. Its the type of guitar that is made for the old time blues music. He was trying to sell it and although I could not afford it at the time, it gave me the idea to do an album with just me.”
Hill’s ‘Solo Recordings’ are exactly that. It’ s a good thing the album is not called Steve Hill and One Thousand Maniacs – there is simply no room in the studio nor in Steve’s mind.
“There are two songs which I wrote on the record which I like a tiny bit more than the others (which I love)! Laughs Hill”.
‘Ever Changing World’ and ‘About Phase’ are the pair of tunes which stand out in Steve’s mind. About Phase is a definite standout, as nice a ballad you will find with a very sweet sounding riff carrying the tune …
“Musically and lyrically I am proud of the way these songs turned out. As a songwriter, if I do not think of writing and a song comes natural – the song is usually good. I have an antennae and the songs come to me through the air …”
The album, Solo Recordings Volume 1, has been online and in stores as of May. In its first week of sales, the release reached No. 10 on the Quebec SoundScan Anglophone charts.
Steve Hill is used to success. In his career spanning almost two decades, the Trois Rivieres artist has shared the stage with legends of blues and rock.
This “Guitar Hero” as appointed by Voir Magazine and “Montreal blues-rock guitar god” by the Gazette, was floored when he performed with Hubert Sumlin – one of the greats of the ‘old blues guys’..
“I learned so much from him. It was funny though, I helped him to adjust his amps and stuff. He had no idea how to do it ….” Chuckles Steve.
Closer to home, Hill has accompanied some legendary Quebec artists as well. Nanette Workman, Zachary Richard, Michel Pagliaro, Éric Lapointe and Jeanm Leloup have all benefited from Hill’s lightning fast fingers and a tremendous understanding of the blues.
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