Steve Hill is going to play with the OSM (Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal) for a very special concert.
With the orchestra hidden behind a curtain and the hall plunged into darkness, you’ll be left with only music to whisk you back to the 1960s, with, among others, the premiere of a work for electric guitar and orchestra by John Anthony Lennon.
Now here’s something! A literal one-man band and an artist steeped in the purest of music styles — the Blues! Steve Hill lays down some of the sweetest Rock ‘n’ Blues heard in some time! He performs solo and this man plays a razor-sharp style of guitar, and at the same time, lays down those pulsating beats from his assorted drum kit. All the while, that whiskey-soaked voice of his just floats above all that intense and textured music! He is also Canadian which naturally makes my heart sing a little louder!
As you can surmise, this is Hill’s third solo outing. ‘Solo Recordings: Volume 3’ was actually recorded and released last year, however, it’s only now seeing the light of day in the UK. It’s an album loaded with rockers, but never losing that rich and deep vein of Blues! Possessing not only an authentic voice that drips with the Blues, Hill is an indisputable guitar slinger and also plays a mean harmonica to boot! He is a seasoned twenty year veteran, one that has been involved in numerous recordings but has recently struck out literally on his own.
Since 2012 he has decided to play all the instruments, and sing each and every song — and all at the same time (if that sounds implausible, just take a peek at the latest album cover for proof)! His first solo outing, aptly titled ‘Solo Recordings: Volume 1’, garnered him Album Of The Year from the International Blues Challenge of 2013. In addition, Hill also won a Canadian Juno for his second solo effort! What will ‘Solo Recordings: Volume 3’ bring? Who knows, but it certainly is the proper one to launch this one-of-a-kind Blues Rocker into the global universe of music!
From heart-wrenching and Blues-soaked ballads to absolute all-out rockers, Steve Hill’s latest should touch the heart of millions of Blues lovers the world over!
I want to make one thing clear about Steve Hill before we go on to his unique selling point, or anything else: Musically he’s very, very good. It wouldn’t matter if this music was being played by a four piece band, a duo, or a big blues band. The songs are hard edged, prime blues/rock of the highest order; Hill’s guitar playing is sensational, and his voice is great – perfect for the style of music: expressive, gritty when it needs to be, softer when he wants. Added to those qualities, it seems that he’s also an excellent bass player, and a great drummer… in fact, it just so happens he’s all four of these things at the same time – and a laid back, charismatic showman to boot!
First a word about support act Steve Hill, who has been doing the rounds with Wishbone Ash throughout this tour. The Canadian is singular for his efforts in delivering hard-hitting blues rock as a one-man band, managing to play kick drum, hi-hat, cymbal and god knows what else in addition to guitar and vocals. Now that runs the risk of being seen as a novelty act – except that he somehow packs enough punch to blow away a hell of a lot bands you’ll come across.
From first bar to last, this was an evening of powerhouse rock at its very finest, with Montreal based, one-man-band Steve Hill performing on these shores for the very first time and cutting a yet deeper vein of popularity into the bargain.
Man can this guy play! In fact, during the Ballad of Johnny Wabo – a song he describes as being “as Canadian as you can get” – there’s a genuine fear he along with his plethora of guitars, drums and cymbals might spontaneously combust. The energy and drive of this consummate musician is simply incredible, all of which is underpinned with a deep, gravel-fuelled voice that would soothe the most rampant of bears out in the deepest of backwoods.
It has been interesting watching Salford Quays evolve over the last 20 years, much like the way Steve Hill has evolved too, and tonight he played at The Lowry. Not the main Lyric Theatre but the smaller and more intimate Quay Theatre where his performance gained him a standing ovation and at the bar afterwards several members of the audience were describing it as “astonishing”. Not bad for someone who is undertaking his first full tour of this country and as a consequence the queue at his merch stall is constant as he signs autographs and sells his CD’s to new fans.
From playing in a British pub a few days ago to now playing such a large, grand venue like Leeds Town Hall with all its northern grandiosity and splendour, Steve Hill’s rise can only be described as stratospheric! The octopus-like one-man band is gone this evening but even stripped back to an acoustic guitar, harp and electronic foot drum it is surprising how much sound he can create.
The O2 Academy in Islington can be a really unforgiving place for a support artist unless they have something special to offer and Steve Hill most definitely had that ‘something’ about him.
He is that really rare thing, a musician that plays as a ‘one man band’ without being compromised by having to play the guitar, sing and play percussion at the same time and it is no insult to him to say that I was amazed not to see a bass player and drummer step out to take their bows with him after a superb little set of rocking Blues.