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GARY HOEY Dust & Bones

By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Wednesday, August 31, 2016 @ 11:28 AM


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GARY HOEY
Dust & Bones

Provogue Records 2016
http://www.garyhoey.com




You've got to hand it to Provogue Records. When it comes to laying out the welcome mat for extraordinary guitar players, they seem to have the Midas touch. They've got Joe Bonamassa and Walter Trout on their roster and now you can add the phenomenal Gary Hoey to that list.

I've been passingly familiar with Hoey for a number of years due to his nearly yearly Christmas season visit to the Rhode Island radio station where he plays amplified rock and roll versions of various holiday music.

But when I saw that he had a new solo album coming out, I was very interested because it was billed as a blues album. I really wanted to hear what Hoey was going to do with his guitar to "the blues".

And what a thrill ride Dust & Bones turned out to be.

Kicking things off with "Boxcar Blues", the guitarist finds a smoking groove for the electrified blues/blues rock throughout the disc. The first track starts off with a slow and restrained opening, but blows into a full on rocking track.

Writing all the songs on the album, Hoey shines as a gifted lyricist and vocalist. There's a touch of grit when appropriate ("Born To Love You") but mostly there's a clearly defined glistening vocal track in nearly every song.And the guitar playing is phenomenal. While that is a bit of stating the obvious of course, it bears being said because there is no resting on his laurels here. One of the best examples of his soloing is the rocker "Ghost Of Yesterday". The leads are great, but his solos make the song even better. The instrumental "Soul Surfer" demonstrates Hoey's deft touch at switching tempos inside of a given song as well.

The title track is a smoky blues rocker that serves aptly as the overall theme of the album. I should mention his tribute to Johnny Winter, "Steamroller", one of two swampy blues rockers. The other one is a down and dirty "Blind Faith" that really lit a smile across my face.

I loved Hoey's production job on the Lita Ford CD Living Like A Runaway, so Ford's appearance on the duet "Coming Home" wasn't much of a surprise to me, but I thought the track just didn't gel together enough for me to recommend it.

The two tracks that I found stood out the most to me were the rollicking party tracks that saw Hoey romping through the songs with a performance that can be best described as festive. Seriously, the songs remind me of those uptempo rockers you WANT to hear from a band playing a party. "Back Up Against The Wall" is just a foot stomping hand clapping joy to listen to. But "Who's Your Daddy" provides a racing vibe that just screams out "FUN!" and there's also a sensational solo in the song as well.

While the album is definitely blues influenced, I think it is probably best described as a blues rock album. And that's just fine with me. Dust & Bones finds Hoey making yet another declarative statement for himself to be considered amongst the best players on the guitar. The album never really gets bogged down or too full of itself. The songs really seem to lend themselves to a live setting where I imagine the party would continue all night long. This is a fantastic album. PERIOD!

4.6 Out Of 5.0

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