Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page
Al Hill is a soul slinger. Accompanying his wailing vocals on piano and guitar, he puts out a sound rooted in the blues, but pulling freely from soul, country and jazz. Shining in the acclaimed Detroit music scene in the 90's, Al's debut CD “Willie Mae” blended shuffling blues, r&b rockers and some expert boogie-woogie on eight rootsy originals and four reworked classics. "Willie Mae" was voted "Best CD" at the Motor Cities Blues Awards in '99, Al and his band won the "Best Unsigned Band" competition, held at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago in 2000, and Al was voted "Outstanding Blues Artist" at the Motor City Music Awards in 2005.
In 2002, Al was named music director for Grammy-nominated recording artist Bettye Lavette. Since then, the Lavette band has played festival and concert venues throughout North and South America, Europe, Africa and Japan, and has performed on the Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, the Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and Austin City Limits. Al often opens the show with a song or two of his own.
In 2008, Al and his wife, singer/songwriter Whit Hill, relocated to Nashville, TN. When not touring with Ms. Lavette, Al accompanies Whit in her alt-folk-country band The Postcards, releasing "We Are Here" in 2003, and "Farsighted" three years later. He also finds time to perform and record his own music, collaborate with his friends, and work as a freelance sideman.
A sampling of artists Al has performed or recorded with include Luther Allison, Buddy Guy, Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Johnny Johnson and Wanda Jackson, T. Graham Brown, Lazy Lester, Marva Wright, Johnnie Bassett, Alberta Adams, Sir Mack Rice, Kermit Ruffins, Harper, and rockabilly legend Sleepy LaBeef.