"One of the most exciting of the roots blues bands to ever come from Ann Arbor/Metro Detroit, pianist/guitarist/vocalist Hill has everything going his way. He has a clear, distinctive, soulful voice, his guitar or piano playing tasty and literate...Highly recommended for lovers of traditional horn-fired, piano-saturated blues, with no reservation." - All Music Guide
Al Hill is a soul singer, a blues piano master, and an outstanding guitarist. His music is rooted in the blues, but pulls freely from soul, country, and jazz.
On his debut CD “Willie Mae”, Al blends New Orleans piano, shuffling blues, and some expert boogie-woogie into his own bag. “Willie Mae” offers eight rootsy originals and four reworked classics. “Willie Mae” was voted “Best CD” at the Motor Cities Blues Awards, 1999. Al and his band won the “Best Unsigned Band” competition, held at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago in 2000. Al was voted “Outstanding Blues Artist” at the Motor City Music Awards in 2005.
Al stays busy both as a front man, sideman, and collaborator. Since 2002, he has been the musical director for international soul diva Bettye Lavette, with whom he has played the Monterey Jazz Fest, Chicago Blues Fest, Bonaroo, the North Sea Jazz Festival, and concert venues throughout the United States, Canada, Europe Africa and Japan. The Lavette band has also performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and Austin City Limits.
Al also collaborates with his wife Whit Hill in her alt-folk-country band The Postcards, releasing "We Are Here" in 2003, and “Farsighted” in 2006.
Al has performed or recorded with Luther Allison, Buddy Guy, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Johnny Johnson, T. Graham Brown, Lazy Lester, Marva Wright, Johnnie Bassett, Alberta Adams, Sir Mack Rice, Harper, Raul Malo, Rick Holmstrom, Carl Weathersby, Johnny Rawls, and rockabilly legend Sleepy LaBeef.
"Few cart along the sort of rich realness that saturates this longtime live fave. What separates pianist-guitarist Hill from the pack of pretenders is that Hill's swampy, swarthy boogie isn't just reverent interpretation--between the tangy, unaffected vocals, thick horns and fatty bottom end, the stuff is thick enough to taste. This 12-track debut disc, featuring seven stellar Hill compositions, is an engaging mesh of Memphis, New Orleans and Midwest--and one of the most sublime platters to emerge from these parts in recent memory." - Detroit Free Press
"..unaffected vocals and rolling keyboard...swings relentlessly..." - Living Blues Magazine
"Hill's hard-driving piano style crackles with the rolling shuffles, Cuban-inflected polyrhythms and syncopated, rhumba-boogie grooves of Crescent City masters Dr. John and Professor Longhair. The horn charts are tough but tasteful, and Hill's pliant, soulful vocals give a nod to Memphis masters Redding and Pickett." - Detroit News
"Al Hill's unique and powerful style is a superb blend of roots rock, thumpin' rhythm and blues, and heartfelt soul. His piano and vocal performances are outstanding." - Big City Blues Magazine
"The 43-year-old bluesman unleashes the soul of his blues through smoky vocals and shuffling boogie piano, accented by understated guitar work and songwriting that's nothing short of heartland poetry." - Grand Rapids Press