The Sound Cafe
8-Time Maple Blues Award Winner Steve Hill Goes Off-Road in New & Eighth Album, Desert Trip
By Eric Alper.
One of Canada’s most prolific guitarists Steve Hill is taking audiences along on his Desert Trip with the release of his latest album, and single “Rain”
A multi-talented instrumentalist with a JUNO, eight Maple Blues Awards and well over 2,500 live concerts notched on his axe, it was a previous solo sojourn into the dusty, dusky wide open that would inspire and transpire into most of this year’s release.
“In the fall of 2016, I went to California with some friends to attend the Desert Trip Festival in Coachella,” Hill recalls. “I had an amazing time while I was there and decided to hang around LA a little longer.
“After a couple of days in the city, I felt an urge to move and a need to explore,” he continues. “I rented a camper van and criss-crossed the state for about three weeks.
“I bought a guitar, too, and wrote some tunes at night while camping in Death Valley, Big Sur, Yosemite, San Rafael, and many other wild places.
“The world has become a very different place since then,” Hill considers. “Somehow, though, these songs make more sense to me lately. They’re a journey through my state of mind at the time, and maybe a foretelling of the way I feel now.
“There’s a few vamped-up oldies on there as well,” he reveals. “It’s as if they had been written on the same trip... I hope they bring others a little joy and comfort, too, in these troubled times.”
Now 27 years and millions of streams into his storied career, Hill has performed alongside the likes of Ray Charles, B.B. King, and ZZ Top, has taken the stage with Kent Nagano and the Montreal Symphonic Orchestra, performed at some of the country’s biggest music festivals, and dabbled in every genre from rock, to country, to folk, and back — all while fusing it with his first and foremost love, the blues.
A multi-nominee across his previous releases, The One Man Blues Rock Band (2018), Solo Recordings, Vol.’s 1 (2012), 2 (2014), 3 (2016), The Damage Done (2009), Devil at My Heels (2007), and Domino (2007), Steve Hill has won a JUNO Award for Blues Album of the Year, the Memphis International Blues Challenge for Best Self-Produced CD, and eight Maple Blues Awards — including three Electric Act of the Year Awards, two Entertainer of the Year Awards, two Guitarist of the Year Awards, and an Album of the Year Award.
Long known for his extensive breadth of sonic skill, earlier this year his outfit Steve Hill & The Devil Horns released “All About The Love” — a rollicking musical mashup of 70s rock mixed with 60s gospel and soul.