Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Gary Hoey: Passion Meeting Dexterity

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Gary Hoey: Passion Meeting Dexterity

Article excerpt

Virtuoso guitarist Gary Hoey made his name as a shredder over the past 25 years, his fingers a manic blur bending notes in seemingly impossible directions. Now, Hoey is embracing his blues roots, an endeavor he says is far more challenging than playing with perfect technique at warp speed.

"The blues is the hardest music to record," Hoey said by phone from his home in New Hampshire. "With rock or pop you can get the notes down perfect. When you play the blues it's really like a performance, it's about rough edges and attitude.

"I'd record something [for the new album] and think it sounded great and then realize it didn't have the passion and emotion it needed. I would play it 10 more times for it to come out the way I wanted."

Hoey, who performs on Saturday in Teaneck, released his second blues album and 20th overall, "Dust & Bones," last month. His first foray into the genre, "Deja Blues," came out in 2013.

"I grew up on a lot of blues and it was definitely the foundation of where I started," said Hoey, who turns 56 on Tuesday. "Then I discovered Eddie Van Halen and that technical, shredding style of playing. I became obsessed with that pretty quickly."

After playing straight rock for 25 years, Hoey said the urge to pursue blues was natural. "I've been wanting to do it for a long time," he said. "I have so much respect for the blues. I think a lot of rock guitarists, when they get older they gravitate toward the blues."

"Dust & Bones" is a diverse disc that shows Hoey to be an exceptional performer whose pure passion matches his dexterity. Album highlights include "Blind Faith," which spotlights his slide guitar talents, the Southern boogie rave-up "Who's Your Daddy" and the inspiring "Soul Surfer," which brings the late Texas blues legend Stevie Ray Vaughan to mind.

There are also rock elements within the album's blues framework, best exemplified in the powerful main riff of standout "Ghost of Yesterday." "On my first blues record I was almost afraid to play power chords," Hoey said. "But on this record I realized I can't abandon the rock guitar player that I am."

Hoey said he never worried about whether his blues turn made good business sense, though others were pessimistic. …

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