Michael Hill

New York State of the Blues

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Michael Hill's third album for Alligator keeps the focus of his music squarely in urban territory. Hill's Hendrix-laden grooves and almost-heavy metal guitar playing may be off-putting to some purists, but he combines and melds his source point with excellence and passion throughout. This time he splits with the blues in two spots, to contribute cover versions of the Temptations' "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" and Stevie Wonder's "Living for the City" as demonstrating part of the group's "roots." But he also plays adventurous slide guitar on "A Case of the Blues" and the group contributes some nice bluesy vocal harmonies to "Soul Doin' Time." Hill's lyrics, as always, address contemporary social concerns (nicely done on the title track and "Anytime, Anywhere, as well as on "This Is My Job"), but most interesting is his take on young blues players coming up by the carload in "Young Folk's Blues." His most accessible record to date.

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