Friday, June 8, 2012

Stellar Steve

I’m putting the new album by Steve Hill, his seventh, among my top five favorite blues records. It’s titled “Solo Recordings Volume One”. The album has it all, fire, smoke, smouldering coals, silk and rain clouds! It wails, it’s giddy, it cooks and it cries. It's electric, it's acoustic and it showcases his versatility.

The album is truly a collection of solo recordings. Steve is alone for each song, with a guitar in his hands and instruments played with his feet. In most cases, his feet are playing a bass drum and hi-hat. In other cases, for example, the Cream re-make, “Politician”, he has a coffee cup filled with change, taped to his boot.

He actually stood in the recording studio playing guitar and singing, at the same time that his feet played bass drum and hi-hat! He confessed there were sometimes balance issues, when he’d occasionally stumble backwards! It’s a cool way to do an album and the result is an irrepressibly pure performance and listening experience.

Steve was at Global Montreal studios yesterday to tape this weekend’s edition of “Focus Montreal”. It’s his second appearance on the show. I talked to him about the album, his busy summer concert schedule and he offered viewers a highly memorable performance of his soulful ballad, “Out of Phase”.

I'm always so excited to be able to talk to the great guests on "Focus Montreal", but when they're kind enough to agree to a picture, I usually end up looking like the biggest goof in the world!

We gave away an autographed copy of Steve's album on the air. After the interview, he signed the album, we chatted a bit and he left. Only then did I notice that he'd signed the album, "Thanks Richard, Steve Hill”. I couldn’t give that to a viewer! Steve had been telling me moments before that he’s hooked on vinyl and had planned to head into HMV below our office to see what records he could find.

I grabbed a “sharpie”, ran down to the music store, found him, asked him not to leave, bought a copy of “Solo Recordings Volume One” and dashed back to the spot where I'd left him! By the time I got back to the record rack, there were others waiting for an autograph! He happily signed the albums for all of us.

Steve’s an easygoing guy and a supremely talented guitarist and singer, who’s played with the likes of BB King, Jimmy Vaughn, Buddy Guy and Metallica.

If you have an appreciation of the blues, check out “Focus Montreal” this Sunday, or buy a copy of the album. If you win it on our show, I can certainly vouch for the autograph's authenticity! While I savor “Solo Recordings Volume One”, I can't help but eagerly await “Volume Two”.

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