Raised in the South Bronx, Michael Hill’s early exposure to music included Harry Belafonte, Jackie Wilson, Elvis Presley and many other artists heard on his father’s records. He took piano lessons at age seven and sang in school and the church choir as he grew up. Hearing Jimi Hendrix changed his life, inspiring his love of the electric guitar.   During High School years in the East Village, Hill and friends spent every weekend listening from the street outside at the Filmore East and other New York concert venues, giving Hill the opportunity to see Jimi Hendrix and other influences, such as Jeff Beck, Cream, B.B. King, Albert King and Buddy Guy. Hill began playing guitar at age18 and started the band Wild Honey in 1973, playing popular soul and funk, along with occasional rock or blues tunes. In 1985, he was invited to join the band of poet/performer Sekou Sundiata and keyboardist Doug Booth. The band included Vernon Reid, who introduced Hill to the Black Rock Coalition. Hill played simultaneously in the rock bands, Fitz, and the New York Band. Immersion in original music, combined with the urging of friends and associates to start his own band, led to songwriting and the formation of Michael Hill's Bluesland, out of which spun the Blues Mob.  With the Blues Mob, Hill has five highly successful CDs to his credit: Electric Storyland Live (03), Suite: Larger Than Life (01), Europe only: Larger Than Life (01), New York State Of Blues (98), Have Mercy! (96), and Bloodlines (94). Over the years, he has performed or recorded with Little Richard, Carla Thomas, Harry Belafonte, Archie Bell and B.B. King, and has jammed with numerous blues masters, including Buddy Guy and Luther Allison. He is recognized as one of modern blues' "most talented songwriters and guitarists" (Living Blues).

Michael Hill was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame as a Master Blues Artist on December 4, 2011.


© December 2011
Photos: Susan O'Kane