THE much-anticipated return of Wishbone Ash to Wirral for The Guitar Festival of Great Britain is understandable given their reputation for providing an exceptional live experience.

Someone who might not be quite so familiar, though, is Steve Hill who will be the band's special guest for the show at New Brighton's Floral Pavilion on Thursday, November 2. 

Montreal-born and raised Steve is a phenomenon and almost the archetypal twenty-five-years-to-become-an-overnight-success story.

He releases his third album, Solo Recordings Volume 3, on November 10 and is fast becoming noted for not only is obvious talent, but also his somewhat unusual stage craft.

Steve Hill is the literal one-man-band, exhibiting not only stunning guitar work and vocals but also playing harmonica and drums.

What Steve delivers is, without question, music that needs to be heard and a performance that needs to be seen to be believed.

"It's pretty full on right now," he said, happily.

"I supported Wishbone Ash on tour in Germany in the winter of 2016 and did 32 shows in 35 days that time and this tour will be 27 shows in 30 days.

"Andy [Powell, guitarist and founder member of Wishbone Ash] likes to do this, you know, and this is when the guy is 67 years old, so I just figure if he can do it, what the hell do have to complain about!"

Hard work and drive is what keeps Steve going.

He has been performing for the better slice of 30 years now but, due largely to reasons beyond his control, has found it tough to break through. That was until he decided to literally go it alone.

"I was broke and it was either try something new, which I did, or apply to work at McDonalds: that simple," Steve explained candidly from his home in Montreal.

"I had this really terrible manager and back in 2005 I'd poured my heart and soul into a new album which this guy didn't do a thing with: no money, no marketing, no gigs ... I mean nothing.

"I had credit cards to pay and bills like anyone else and absolutely no money with which to pay them, while he was doing pretty well for himself it seemed.

"Anyway, the album tanked, as you would expect because nobody was hearing it, and I wasn't getting booked to play songs from it, other than those which I arranged myself.

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Steve Hill

"So I decided I had to do something to get people to sit up and take notice, because playing music is all I knew how to do.

"That's when I thought back to when I used to busk on street corners and do solo gigs in pubs.

"So there I was, guitar in hand and singing away, stomping my foot like I used to when I was busking.

"That was pretty much how Recordings Volume 1 came about.

"I'd incorporated a kick drum into my act and recorded what I was doing in studio I part owned and sold it at the gigs.

"Eventually, Solo Recordings Volume 1 outsold anything I’d recorded previously, won at the Memphis International Blues Challenge and was nominated for a JUNO award [the Canadian Grammys] that same year.

"Then people would ask me at gigs: 'when's Volume 2 coming out?' and when it did it actually won the JUNO Blues Album of the Year.

"Then, of course, people began asking about Volume 3 and this is where we're at right now.

"I just keep at but it's great the way it’s going down right now."

Six years and three albums down the line, Steve is finally making his name in the business he loves most ... after 25 years of being in the business he loves.

A testament, if ever there was one, to hard work and, of course, to never giving up.

Now that Steve is a one-man-band in his own right, you would think that his influences might have come from within his own family circle.

"No. Mom played piano a little, but that was it pretty much.

"One of my friends had an electric guitar another had a drum kit.

"None of them took it seriously though. I played piano for a short while, then a friend showed me the riff to Interstellar Overdrive by Pink Floyd and I thought: 'What???!!'

"When I was growing up in the late 80s 'Hair Bands' were the thing: Bon Jovi and whoever.

"I wasn't really into that and the bands I liked were like Guns 'n' Roses.

"I would go down to The States in the summer and that whole thing with them was going on their at the time.

"What got me in to playing though was I had this friend who's brother had a massive record collection. It was the old records he had that got me going.

"When I first heard the British Explosion of sound for myself, for the first time though - Beck, Clapton, Page and those other guys who'd be playing back in the 60s ... John Mayall and The Blues-breakers – that's when I picked up and began playing blues guitar at 14 and finally recorded my first album.

"Nobody in Canada would sign me so it didn’t do as well as I hoped it would although fans at my gigs really got into it in a big way.

"Then I figured 'work hard enough and release as much stuff as possible and something is bound to happen.'"

A philosophy that led to Steve playing around 200 gigs a year at times, bringing him into contact with the likes of BB King, Ray Charles, Johnny Lang, Jimmie Vaughn, Jeff Beck, ZZ Top and a whole host of other blues greats.

"A lot of those gigs I booked myself, but I learned one hell of a lot.

"In meeting BB King I was taught that the greatest are usually the nicest and that those who aren't are usually the ones you meet when they're on the way down.

"If you're nice to people, then those you are nice to as they rise up will remember that for all the right reasons.

"Believe me the egotists in this business are never the legends and legends will still be there when you are on your own way down, offering help and support: the egotists won't be."

It is this willingness to put in the hours that has seen Steve climb the mountain to success.

The UK tour in support of Wishbone Ash is next which, by anybody's standards, is something of a toughie.

Relaxation time is a minimum then?

"On tour I practice yoga ... mine is a very physical show so the stretching helps ... and I used to draw.

"I also like to read and at the moment I'm into comic books.

"In fact if I wasn’t a musician, I like to think I might be working for Marvel or DC or one of those guys. I love the artwork and the stories."

Does the story telling spill into the song writing? 

"I wish it did. Sometimes a song comes complete, sometimes it doesn't: sometimes it's easy, sometimes it isn't.

"Whichever way it happens, though, it's a beautiful thing when it does that’s for sure!"

Steve Hill will be supporting Wishbone Ash at The New Brighton Floral Pavilion on November 2.

Tickets from

A Review of the show featuring Wishbone Ash and special guest Steve Hill will be available to read afterwards on