3. Still A Fool & A Rolling Stone
4. Slowly Slipping Away
5. Rhythm All Over
6. Smoking Hot Machine
7. Troubled Times
9. Can't Take It With You
10. Rollin & Tumblin/Stop Breaking Down
11. Going Down The Road Feeling Bad
12. Walking Grave
Here's a dynamite collection from Canadian 'one-man band' Steve Hill – as the title indicates his third collection of solo recordings, now soon to be released in the UK and ahead of an 18-date tour here with Wishbone Ash.
Steve Hill has been around the Canadian scene for some 20 years and this may be the release to see him break out internationally. He performs standing up, on both electric and acoustic guitars, harmonica, with feet playing bass drum, snare drum, hi-hats and with a drum stick fused to the head of his guitar.
The 12-track collection contains nine originals and three covers that veer from tough rockers and blues stompers through to some more delicate acoustic tunes, and feature Hill's 'monster' electric guitar tone with some fine slide, some tasteful acoustic picking, and more than capable harmonica work, with strong voice . . . he is the real deal indeed!
As far as I'm concerned every one is a winner . . . kicking off with the 'rowdy as it comes' rocker “Damned”, which rides on a great guitar motif; and is followed the equally tough “Dangerous”. Just as you are pausing for breath comes along the opening onslaught of “Still A Fool & A Rolling Stone” - a lengthy rolling blues cover, also known as “Catfish Blues”, with Hill's vocal echoing the guitar lines.
It is the fourth track, the folky acoustic “Slowly Slipping Away” before the pace drops, illustrating that Hill is perfectly capable of mixing things up – indeed the delightful “Emily” - another acoustic song – is one of the album stand outs.
Elsewhere we have the brooding blues rocker “Can't Take It With You”, with lots of snarling, tough guitar and a quite excellent medley of two blues chestnuts in “Rollin & Tumblin/Stop Breaking Down”. They've been done to death for sure but get a good 'going over' here from Hill and his tough-toned slide guitar and percussion.
The album ends in fine style with some lovely acoustic finger picking to open “Going Down The Road Feeling Bad” - which dates back to the legendary Woody Guthrie; with the final track switching the mood and feel again, on the electric stomp of “Walking Grave”, with some quite raucous guitar tones!
Again, a release to file under the 'one of the best things I've heard this year' category. I would suggest all folk heading out to see Wishbone Ash get to the venue early . . . they are in for a treat!
Photo - Szymon Goralczyk
Website - www.stevehillmusic.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/stevehillmusic/
Review - Grahame Rhodes