Scottish born songwriter Sam Hill Jr. has been writing, recording and performing his music across the UK throughout his life. His welcome return with a brand new album, ʻCowboys and Moonbeamsʼ marks his first new recording for over ten years. ʻCowboys and Moonbeamsʼ is a reference to the songs his father taught him to play on the guitar when he was just nine years old. His father was a musician and preacher with a love of American gospel, bluegrass and Scottish folk music which he passed on to his son. Hill relocated from the North of England to Cornwall in 2002 to “take care of family business”. This new album is the perfect addition to his rich catalogue of work, and is a milestone in his respected career.
Hill says, “This album is my most honest work to date, with one dominant theme; love and commitment in the face of life’s struggle, and each song is a real conversation with those closest to me. Iʼve tried to connect the words with simple melodies and minimal production. Much of the album was recorded at home in Cornwall and other locations including Somerset, Lancashire and Nashville Tennessee. The music nods towards bluegrass and folk, but is hard to put into any one box”
Hill has a rich, warm, distinctive voice, he performs from the heart and itʼs hard to make comparisons with other artists. Hill says, “From early on as a songwriter I was drawn towards songwriters like Neil Young, John Martyn, Paul Simon and Randy Newman, but Iʼve never had the desire to write in any one genre, or to sound like someone else”.
The album includes contributions from other musicians Hill has worked with before. Phil Madeira plays Dobro. Phil recorded with Sam in Nashville, USA on Hill’s “Sunset Grill” album and is best known as member of ʻThe Red Dirt Boysʼ, Emmylou Harris’s band and as producer/artist on the recent album ʻMercylandʼ where he produced The Civil Wars, Buddy Miller and The Carolina Chocolate Drops, to name just a few. Ivor Novello Award winning film writer Richard G. Mitchell co-produced the album. Some of Richardʼs best known work includes the films ʻGram Theft Parsonsʼ, ʻTo Kill A Kingʼ and the recently completed score for “Moby Dick” starring William Hurt, Ethan Hawke. ʻCowboys and Moonbeamsʼ was mixed by Alan Gregson who also plays guitar on the album. Alan has long been known for his work with Corner Shop and a host of other artists.
Though he has always been well below the mainstream music radar, Hill has performed at many well known venues and festivals throughout the UK and Ireland. From The Borderline in London, The Edinburgh Festival, Holland, the former Soviet Republic of Georgia and the USA. He says, “my family has always had to take first place so being ʻsuccessfulʼ, whilst once an attractive possibility to me, was never the the most important thing in my life”. “Writing songs has always been something I have to do for its own sake whether its going be heard by ten people or a thousand. The honesty of “Cowboys and Moonbeams won’t connect with everyone, but for some it may be something they really relate to”.
Sam Hill Jrʼs last album in 2002, Gracenotes, released by Gold Records was a collaboration with the Irish writer, poet and preacher, Steve Stockman. For many years Hill worked extensively with guitarist/producer Alan Gregson and violinist Richard Curran, (Richard is well known in the folk world for his work with Bert Jansch and Steve Tilston). They recorded Hillʼs ʻSunset Grillʼ album in Nashville USA, pedal steel player Al Perkins and guitarist Phil Keaggy also appeared on the album. Hill has produced various projects including his “Thunder and Rain” album and an EP, ʻMasqueradeʼ with Richard G. Mitchell.
During 2014 Sam Hill Jr. will be performing throughout the UK. Please check for updates on the latest news page here, or on his website at www.samhilljr.co.uk