January 19, 2015 (Toronto) – Blue Monday, thought to be the most depressing day of the year, was anything but last night Toronto’s Koerner Hall, as internationally renowned Canadian Blues Artists from coast-to-coast were honoured by their peers at the 18th Annual Maple Blues Awards gala.
Montreal’s one-man band, Steve Hill took home all of the awards he was nominated for including Entertainer of the Year, Electric Act of the Year, Recording of the Year for Solo Recordings Vol. 2, and Guitar Player of the Year. Angel Forrest won two awards including Female Vocalist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year. Also representing the thriving Quebec blues scene were Nanette Workman who won the Blues with a Feeling Lifetime Achievement Award and Greg Morency of the Paul DesLauriers Band who won Bassist of the Year. From Montreal, Guy Belanger won Harmonica Player of the Year, sharing it with Vancouver’s Harpdog Brown in the first ever Maple Blues Awards tie.
Vancouver’s Brandon Isaak won the Acoustic Act of the Year award with David Vest taking home the award for Piano/Keyboard Player of the Year. The New Artist or Group of the Year award was presented to Ottawa’s Wicked Grin. Edmonton Folk Festival producer Terry Wickham joined Stony Plain Records president Holger Petersen to present the Blues Booster of the Year Award to Edmonton’s Peter North, who was recognized for his dedication to promoting the blues as a broadcaster, talent buyer and festival Artistic Director.
An additional award was handed out last night as the winners of the first ever Cobalt Prize for Contemporary Blues Composition were announced. The creator and benefactor of the award, musician Paul Reddick, presented Digging Roots the grand prize for their song “Hwy 17”, with Rob Lutes and Samantha Martin announced as runners up.
Hosted by renowned musician and broadcaster, Toronto’s own Danny Marks, the Maple Blues Awards included outstanding performances from Maple Blues Award nominees past and present, including the evening’s big winners Steve Hill and Angel Forrest, Joel Johnson, Downchild, Harpdog Brown and Brandon Isaak, all backed by The Maple Blues Band.
It was a shutout for perennial favourite MonkeyJunk and almost the same for Matt Andersen as Montreal guitarist Steve Hill scored four key trophies at last night’s Maple Blues Awards, staged at the Royal Conservatory’s 1100-seat Koerner Hall.
Masterful guitar playing and strong yet pleasant sounding vocals, refreshing and sometimes surprising songwriting, clever arrangements, very good sound. The works of an expert, who reinvented the one man band!
Steve Hill will be at MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE 2015. He’s a Guitar Hero who ranks among the most knockout-impressive performers in La Belle Province. The proof? This solo concert in which he’ll blow minds with his habitual wicked guitar licks, playing drums and percussion with his feet, blowing harmonica and playing a cymbal with a drumstick attached to his guitar!
Think of the components that make up most bands: a guitar or two, a bass, drums, vocals. Now imagine playing those by yourself all at once, plus a harmonica. That’s what Steve Hill does each and every night.
“I have a bass drum, a snare, a hi-hat that I play with my feet, and I have a drum stick on my guitar’s headstock, so I play the cymbal. I modified my guitar so I can play bass and guitar at the same time,” Hill explains casually, as if it were a simple thing to be a one-man band.
Hill spent 20 years touring and recording as a singer and guitar player—sharing the stage with the likes of Ray Charles and ZZ Top—before building his one-man operation three years ago. It began with singing and foot stomping while playing guitar before gradually incorporating additional instruments.
“One-man band” Steve Hill is set to make a stop at The Townehouse Oct. 16 as part of a tour of Canada in support of his latest album, “Solo Recordings Volume 2.”
“When it comes to one-man bands, guitarist and singer extraordinaire Steve Hill has no limits,” a press release said.
“Throughout his lengthy and intense shows, Hill performs standing up while singing and playing guitar, with 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.
“With roots in blues, rock and a little bit of country, Hill performs his original songs, blues classics and quite often raucous renditions of Jimi Hendrix tunes.
For the past 20 years Hill has been touring and recording and has shared the stage with the likes of Ray Charles, BB King, ZZ Top, Jimmie Vaughan, Hubert Sumlin and Jeff Beck.
The show will start at 8 p.m. with Lori and Jessie from the Sulfer City Blues Band followed by an intimate solo performance by Hill.