Tuesday, June 3, 2014

No Label Records artist: Steve Hill - Solo Recordings Volume 2 - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Solo Recordings Volume 2, from Steve Hill and it's quite interesting. Opening with Still Got It Bad, Hill established a gritty blues sound that is lacking in most contemporary bands. Accompanying himself on guitar and drums, this raw sound is right on! Slim Chance has a rockier/pop sound and a more clever hook but it's the raw slide sound that does it for me on this track. Tough Luck is an acoustic, finger picked picked, folk style track with smooth vocals and harp. The Collector returns back to blues roots with raw electric slide and a jagged feel that compliments the melody quite well. Never Is Such A Long Time is one of my favorite tracks on the release with R&B kind of style yet maintaining the rawness of this "primitive" overall sound. The melody is really strong and Hill compliments his solid vocals with stinging guitar work on this track. Excellent! Little Walter's Hate To See You Go is really well done with a driving beat and call and response vocal/guitar work. Another really sweet track! Better is a straight up ballad sung over arpegiated chords and 3/4 time. A simple radio style track, maintaining the raw feel, the track has a very memorable melody and a cool slide guitar solo. Simple Things, another quiet ballad with a strong melody shows Hill's talent as a songwriter and the ease at which he blends his own vocals with interesting slide work. On Muddy Water's I Want You To Love Me, Hill cranks up the distortion a little and gets a rolling blues feel going. Keeping the "dirty" overall sound, this is a cool way to showcase a classic Morganfield track without being repetitive. Very nice. Go On is back to the simplest of the stripped down blues rock sounds, one that I find very attractive. With only guitar, drum and vocal this is a cool track that deserves notice. Wrapping the release is Long Road, an easy going acoustic ballad with clean vocals and nicely articulated finger picked guitar and simple rhythm. This release is a mixed bag with a common thread of good music and solid execution. I especially like the raw guitar blues found here... and sound that most closely resembles the original blues.

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