Trois Rivieres native and guitar player extraordinaire Steve Hill is a busy guy. Following a very successful jaunt to Europe – Hill is home for a little bit before heading off to England and Germany once more.
It was while he was ‘home’ and doing a gig in the province of Quebec that Steve finally recorded a long awaited live album.
“The One-Man Blues Rock Band” is the name of the album and it was a project that Hill wanted to get right. Hence the nine studio album delay. A live album can be a tricky thing when work dictates reality and time is short.Read More
Steve Hill defines himself as a ‘one man blues rock band’ but, in reality, he’s more of a revelation. Over the years there have been many solo artists, but few who have taken the art of playing solo to such heights and, to listen to his latest live recording, you’d be easily forgiven for screaming “overdubs” from the moment the crunchy ‘damned’ detonates with bass guitar and drums all apparently intact but, check out the live show (or the handy video clip in this piece) and you’ll realise that he’s got it all figured out. A remarkable performer, Steve Hill has been nominated for (and won) many awards for the work he’s done over the years, most notably ‘solo recordings’ volumes 2 & 3 and, in just over a week, he returns to the UK to play a string of shows with Danny Bryant and King King. I had the pleasure of catching up with Steve, a relaxed and friendly interviewee, by phone and what follows is the complete discussion.Read More
Finding the Ins and Outs of Being a One-Man Band with Steve Hill
BD: Thank you for taking time out to speak to Bluesdoodles this afternoon. Another digital experience to add to the bucket list – first conversation using Facebook Messenger. With Special Guest slots on two UK Tours and a new live album, you must be excited and busy. Before we talk about the here and now let’s find out a bit about Steve Hill and why he became a one-man band with a difference.
BD: What were your first musical influences growing up in Trois-Revieres near Montreal Canada?
SH: Always loved music. I never thought that I would become a musician. My big brother listened to hard rock etc. First song I remember, I was about four, was Cheap Trick’s Dream Police. Then ZZ Top’s Eliminator album and AC/DC all were played and are big favourites of mine. It was Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits that I first heard the guitar sing and I thought I really want to do that. I was in year 12 and started to listen to Cream, Hendrix, Zep it was 1986 and not into pop and hairband music of the times. My friend’s big brother had all the good British Rock of the 60’s & 70’s in his collection I heard Sunshine of Your Love and I knew I gotta do that. A friend had electric guitar another played drums. All of a sudden it felt that it was possible. Then I was shown the riff to Pink Floyd’s Interstellar Overdrive from the Sid Barrett era. Then learnt the E Chord and still playing that chord I keep it basic. Started playing the guitar at 13 and by the time I was 15 years old I was in a band. By the time I turned 18 I was a professional musician and that was 25 years ago. The live album that is out soon is my tenth album, the first was released back in 1997. I played lots of gigs and went through a dark period. Then with Solo Records Vol 1, it all changed. I became a one-man band and it seemed to work just fine people enjoyed the thing and I have notched up 800 shows in the last 6 years. Playing solo I found my sound through being limited by being a one-man band.Read More
Steve Hill releases his first ever live album, the 14 track “The One-Man Blues Rock Band” on Manhaton Records in the UK on Friday 11th May 2018, recorded at “La Chapelle” Quebec on November 30th 2017. Steve Hill is having a very successful time over the last few years as his “one man band” approach to his hard hitting blues/rock style has seen him perform on stage with many of the biggest names in blues/rock music and many of his own musical heroes. Along the way, Steve Hill has picked up some very prestigious awards as a musician and a performer. To some, this may look an overnight success, and maybe it is if you turn a blind eye to the previous 10 years of album releases and 20 years of getting out there and performing his music.
“The One-Man Blues Rock Band”, the first live album from Steve Hill, is perhaps not the best introduction to his live music for me as I have never to date managed to see Steve playing live, and the whole point of a live album is to capture a little bit of that essence for the fans. This album is live though in every sense of the word. Not only does it capture some of the energy that you would expect from a performer gaining a lot of attention for his live shows, but this is all Steve Hill playing everything without any added trickery and over-dubs in the studio. I did review Steve’s “Solo Recordings 3” album last year though, and most of the songs on this live album come from Solo Recordings 1, 2 and 3.Read More
Steve Hill may not be a household name in the UK, but this one man blues rock band is well established in his home nation of Canada; holding an impressive number of musical accolades and awards. His unique act sees him standing on stage alone playing a guitar, bass, drums, harmonica and singing to produce a highly convincing full band sound.
I caught up with Steve on the phone from Canada ahead of the launch of his new live album, ‘The One-Man Blues Rock Band’ and upcoming UK tour to get to know a bit more about this highly talented musician.Read More
One good thing about reviewing Steve Hill – there’s none of that having to go checking the names of his bandmates. That album title, The One-Man Blues Rock Band, is the literal truth. Credit to Hill though, I didn’t spend the duration of this live album, recorded in Quebec last autumn, brooding about the truly solo nature of his enterprise.
The album opens with the spiky guitar intro of ‘Rhythm All Over’, leading into a jagged, ringing riff. And the rhythm in question is stomping. When Hill sings “I’m beating on your door”, you very much get the idea.Read More
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.Read More
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!
Bruce E.J. AtkinsonRead More