In the fall of 2016, Steve Hill attended the Desert Trip Festival in California, which hosted Bob Dylan, Neil Young, the Stones, Paul McCartney, Roger Waters and the Who. Four years later, he launched an album he wrote on the road, during this stay.
This new opus, entitled Desert Trip, which launched on November 6, was a fluke.
“After the festival, I was to spend four to five days in Los Angeles and come back to Quebec. I went to see a friend who has a studio there and it made me want to write tunes. I rented a van, bought a guitar and I went on the road, ”he said in a telephone interview.
Steve Hill has crisscrossed the roads with stops in Big Sur, Death Valley, Joshua Tree, San Rafael and Yosemite. He was recording ideas and songs on his phone.
At the end of his journey, he stopped again at the Valentine Recording Studios of his friend Nic Jodoin, in North Hollywood. A place often visited by the Eagles of Death Metal formation. Nic Jodoin had mixed the album Devil at My Heels, of the musician from Trois-Rivières.
“I recorded the piece I won’t in this place, ”he said.
Entity and vibe
Upon his return to Quebec, Steve Hill embarked, over the next three years, on a tour of 350 shows in Canada, the United States and Europe.
The guitarist-singer was working on a new album with the title Dear Illusion, last spring, when the pandemic stopped everything.
While rummaging through his hard drives, the guitarist came across songs written during his road trip from 2016.
“The lyrics of these songs matched our reality right now. Everything fell into place quickly, ”he said.
We find, on Desert Trip, new versions of the songs Gotta Be Strong, Cold Hearts and Judgment Day. Nine of the ten pieces were recorded in his studio.
“It’s my 11e album and I think it holds up very well. I always try, when I make an album, not to just put together a bunch of songs. I’m trying to do something that has an entity and a vibe. There is, on Desert Trip, a story from start to finish. You can think of it as a concert album. I’m very happy with this album, ”said the virtuoso musician.
Steve Hill has no shortage of projects. Album Dear Illusion, which is nearing completion, is slated to launch in 2021. It has a few webcast concerts ahead of it, including the one on December 4 at Palais Montcalm dedicated to the music of Jimi Hendrix.
“My goal, before I can get back on the road, is to do one online show per month by summer. Unique things like the entirety of Desert Trip with a group, revisit old albums with the musicians of the time. I miss the road and the fans, but I keep going. I’m not giving up, ”he said.