Look at any bio you can find of Steve Hill and there’s no doubt he’s led a busy and productive life. Solo Recordings: Volume 3 does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s Steve Hill performing a set of songs on his own, playing each instrument exactly how he sees fit for the song.
However, there’s a twist in the formula. He’s a one-man band. Operating hi-hats, snare and bass drum with his feet, guitar complete with bass notes originating from three guitar strings fed through an Octaver guitar pedal hooked up to a bass amp. The guitar also has a drumstick grafted to the headstock for that extra bit of percussion. And on top of all of that, he’s singing the lyrics. So score one for talent and skill.
Having toured with some of the best blues names in the business, it’s only fair that he’s more than qualified to create some of the best blues sounds to sit amongst them. Had you not been told this was all because of one man doing it all at once, you’d think it was an incredibly tight three or four-piece blues act.
However, by using this formula, Hill gets an edge over everyone else to create music to the exact minutiae he wants. It makes it that much more of a tight performance. With his gravel-spitting, husky voice, blues is the perfect backdrop for it and the nine original songs are all fighting for position to be the highlight of the album. Alongside that, he’s lovingly covered a handful of blues staples such as “A Rollin’ Stone” and “Stop Breaking Down”.
The stomping opener of “Damned” acts as a brilliant introduction to the album and indeed, if it’s your first time hearing Steve Hill, he proves within seconds, he’s the real deal. Like Alan Nimmo or Joanne Shaw Taylor, he doesn’t just play blues; he feels it. It speaks not to your ears or your brain but your soul. Whilst the album has its raucous moments like that and “Can’t Take it With You” among others, the softer side such as “Slowly Slipping Away” and “Emily” proves Hill knows when to drop a gear. The latter, whilst being acoustic-driven still feels light-hearted with its funky tones and wastes no time in making its presence known.
Recorded live in a studio, Hill proves his solo incarnation isn’t just for an on-stage gimmick and instead, he’s made a record which not only grabs your attention but keeps it. It makes me want to track down Volume 1 and 2 and if you can, catch him on tour with Wishbone Ash (now there’s a value for money ticket) later this month.
- Wednesday 18-Oct-17 Dorking Halls, Dorking
- Thursday 19-Oct-17 O2 Academy Islington, London
- Friday 20-Oct-17 The Coliseum Theatre Aberdare
- Saturday 21-Oct-17 Cheese & Grain, Frome
- Sunday 22-Oct-17 The Arts Centre, Swindon
- Tuesday 24-Oct-17 Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham-By-Sea
- Wednesday 25-Oct-17 The Brook, Southampton
- Thursday 26-Oct-17 Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne
- Friday 27-Oct-17 The Hub, Plymouth
- Saturday 28-Oct-17 The Railway, Ipswich
- Sunday 29-Oct-17 King Edward VII Memorial Hall, Newmarket
- Tuesday 31-Oct-17 Princess Theatre, Hunstanton
- Thursday 02-Nov-17 Floral Pavilion Theatre, New Brighton, Wirral
- Friday 03-Nov-17 The Tivoli, Buckley
- Saturday 04-Nov-17 Whitby Pavilion Theatre, Whitby
- Sunday 05-Nov-17 The Lowry Manchester
- Tuesday 07-Nov-17 The Flowerpot, Derby
- Wednesday 08-Nov-17 The Irish Centre, Leeds
- Thursday 09-Nov-17 Bootleggers, Kendal
- Friday 10-Nov-17 The Jam House, Edinburgh
- Saturday 11-Nov-17 The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen
- Sunday 12-Nov-17 The Ferry, Glasgow
- Tuesday 14-Nov-17 Riverside Lodge, Morpeth
- Wednesday 15-Nov-17 ARC, Stockton-on-Tees
- Thursday 16-Nov-17 The Layton, Blackpool
- Friday 17-Nov-17 The Picturedrome, Holmfirth
- Saturday 18-Nov-17 ASHCON, Clitheroe
Header image by Szymon Góralczyk
Solo Recordings: Volume 3 is released on 6th October