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Pinning Josh Hill’s music down to a particular category is not something easy to do. His songs crossover somewhere between alternative rock, blues and soul. He is an artist of many talents as well. As a songwriter, his lyrics come from the depths of his soul and are well crafted ideas which only make the listening experience more rewarding. He uses words like a painter uses a brush, coloring his songs with many different hues of emotional content. His abilities as a musician far exceed those of most people as he has become a master of many different instruments. This young man has only just begun his musical journey and at the rate of his successes, only time will tell how very far he can go in his quest for greatness. I only look for good things to come from him in the future.

– Dan Kane, Power Base Studio, Inc.

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“The band finds the border, which I didn’t know existed, between pop music and the blues”

– Neil Sandhoefne, Omaha Weekly Reader.

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“Josh Hill’s music is crisp, energetic, forceful – in short, it rocks! It combines great playing, superb, tight arrangements, meaningful lyrics and excellent production. It is everything that great pop music should be.”

– Tom Larson, Professor/University of Nebraska College Of Music

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“Josh Hill has successfully blended pop ideas, both new and old, without losing the authenticity of roots music. Delivered with a vast openness that reflects the stark Nebraska landscape he hails from, Hill shows much promise as a songwriter and performer. I know when I book him, he will reach to the depths, performing with a frank honesty that he presents both on and off stage.”

-Joshua Hoyer, ZOO Bar

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From drums to guitar, Josh Hill knows how to do it all

By MICHAEL McHALE / GZO Friday, May 23, 2008 – 12:03:54 am CDT

On a windless evening in the Haymarket, “The Macarena” leaks from a set of speakers and wanders into the crowd, weaving unnoticed by a few people drinking at a bar and tiptoeing between some coeds gathered at a table. Eventually it reaches Josh Hill, who had been lost in a conversation at Brewsky’s Food & Spirits. The local musician perks his ears. “Wow,” he says. “I haven’t heard this song in, like, 10 years.”

Josh Hill may have started out on drums, but he’s since gone on to master his own lyrics and guitar. Another tune escapes the speakers. Hill stops in mid-sentence and bobs his head. “Damn,” he laughs. “They got a good mix here.” Hill can’t help but listen. The 22-year-old college student lives and breathes music. He writes songs and sings. He plays guitar and drums. He can work a piano and a keyboard. He has even recorded his own album and started his own band — aptly named The Josh Hill Band — which has been playing at various venues since mid-February.

Last week it was the Zoo Bar. On Wednesday, it’s Knickerbockers. Later it will be Box Awesome. Hill hopes there is no end. “My goal is to make people passionate about what they’re doing,” he said. “If it’s insurance, be passionate about it. If it’s journalism, be passionate.”

Hill’s own passions have shifted recently. After he began classes at Southeast Community College a few years ago, he started working at Inspro Insurance and laying the path to his dream career. Or so he thought.

“If you would have asked me a year and a half ago what I’d be doing with my life, I would have said, ‘I’m going to be selling this much insurance and driving a Lexus.’” Then plans changed. He found himself making up songs at his desk, picking imaginary points to bring in the drums, then the vocals, then the harmony.

He decided to make his own album. He knew of a place called Power Base Studio in Wisner, which is about a two-hour drive north of Lincoln.
In December 2006, Hill arrived with an idea and $500. He spent nearly every weekend there for the next year and a half, writing and playing and arranging.

“He’s always been so much of a drummer to me,” said Jake Neeman, 26, who grew up with Hill in Ord. “For him to talk about writing and playing guitar, I thought it was really strange. I wasn’t expecting too much to be honest.” Hill finished the 10-song album this spring and gave a copy to Neeman. He was impressed. In hindsight, he should have known better. Hill played drums every Sunday at his church in Ord during high school, and his dad was a band teacher at the elementary school. Music was a part of the family.

But drums were not enough. Hill bought a guitar and started practicing every night. He studied Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. He bought all of John Mayer’s albums, even though he despised the song “Your Body is a Wonderland.” He was falling with in love with everything about music. “There’s so much more to a song than just the lyrics,” Hill said.

Fast-forward a few years, and he was ready to show off his skills. At the convincing of some friends, he started a three-man band in February. He sang and played guitar, Neeman drummed and their friend Andy Essinc played bass.

Now, after a few months together, Neeman is leaving for a job in South Dakota and Hill is being forced to improvise. But he’s had plenty of practice. That’s why he stops what he’s doing when notes hit his ears. That’s why he bobs his head during a conversation at Brewsky’s.
Music seems to find a way to take over.

“You see so many people who settle into the normal,” Hill said. “I don’t want to be normal.”

– Michael McHale, Lincoln Journal Star