Rockin’/Soulful Nikki Hill Comes to BluesDays in Wheeling

Nikki Hill

WHEELING — A couple of weeks ago, “the love child of Amy Winehouse and Little Richard,” Lindsay Beaver, performed at BluesDays at River City.

Next week, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 24, it’s Nikki Hill, who will perform, and according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, “If Tina Turner and Little Richard had a daughter and raised her with the help of uncles James Brown and Chuck Berry, she’d be like Nikki Hill.”

“Nikki Hill and her husband guitarist Matt Hill have been doing a lot of rockin’, soulful blues,” said Bruce Wheeler, producer of BluesDays at River City and Heritage Music BluesFest. “She’s got a little bit of a ’50s vibe she does with the blues.”

Hill grew up in Durham, N.C., where she was always happy to lend her vocal harmonies to bands around her hometown, which is how she met musician Matt Hill in 2005; they both found a young, fellow crate-digging friend in each other who could talk just as much about Lightnin’ Hopkins as they could Bon Scott era AC/DC, according to Hill’s website.

They got married in 2011 and moved to St. Louis to help Matt gain touring traction in support of his solo albums. Bouncing between her day job as a personal trainer and waiting tables at night, Nikki paired with Matt and performed as a duo, and eventually began booking her own local shows while Matt was on tour. Nikki’s live shows became quickly known in St. Louis and Chicago for their energy, unique sound and for her charisma.

The pair then moved to New Orleans, returning to the south and picking up influence through the Gulf Coast. The momentum continued through the release of her second album, “Heavy Hearts Hard Fists” in 2015. With fiery soul and heavy R&B with rock ‘n’ roll boogie and tons of attitude to match, the album was received with many accolades from press and fans and kept Hill touring in the U.S. and Europe, adding Australia and India and Morocco to the tour schedule, and over 30 festivals a year, including Montreux Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Byron Bay Blues Festival and more.

Nikki’s new record, “Feline Roots,” is independently released on house label Deep Fryed Records. Hill lets her soul rip on this new collection of songs, displaying her now well-known stance to champion for the pioneers of roots and rock ‘n’ roll, while remaining in perpetual forward motion, inviting anyone who wants to come along for the journey.

The songs imagine the southern soul rocker at times waving her flag in surrender, then in the next moment finding her way back into the climb, bending through supercharged blues, punk soul, revival tent gospel, rockabilly shouts, whatever it takes to get there. Nikki has never been afraid to take the road less traveled, and it’s clear with “Feline Roots” that she’s living every word.

Please note the time change to 7 p.m. for Nikki Hill’s show, which had originally be set for 8 p.m.

BluesDays at River City is roughly a two-hour concert. River City is located at 1400 Main St., Wheeling.

Next up is Sue Foley, at 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2.

Attendees to BluesDays at River City can purchase tickets for BluesFest at early bird prices.

For more information, visit www.heritagemusicfest.com.


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