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Blues - Released July 29, 2016 | Provogue

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Dust & Bones finds Gary Hoey picking up where he left off on 2013's Deja Blues. Once again, he's in a heavy blues mode, cranking up his amp to the breaking point and indulging in some old-school theatrics, like working his wah-wah pedal so it sings like Hendrix. That's not the only guitar god whose work is apparent here. "Steamroller" is dedicated to Johnny Winter, and there are echoes of Billy Gibbons and Eric Clapton, all filtered through Hoey's dexterous chops. Now a veteran of 25 years -- he nods toward his surfy beginnings on the album-closing "Soul Surfer" -- Hoey certainly can tip his hat to his peers but he has his own style, one that's designed as an eternal homage to the glory days of classic rock guitar. Dust & Bones hits these points quite strongly: nominally a blues album, it's really a testament to the blues-rock of the late '80s, a time when the guitar hero truly thrived by drawing from the past to celebrate the present. In 2016, Hoey isn't exactly alone -- there's Joe Bonamassa, for one -- but this affectionate glance back at six-string pyromania inadvertently shows us how much things have changed over the years. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Blues - Released July 29, 2016 | Provogue

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Rock - Released November 25, 2008 | Surfdog Records

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Blues - Released July 29, 2016 | Provogue

Dust & Bones finds Gary Hoey picking up where he left off on 2013's Deja Blues. Once again, he's in a heavy blues mode, cranking up his amp to the breaking point and indulging in some old-school theatrics, like working his wah-wah pedal so it sings like Hendrix. That's not the only guitar god whose work is apparent here. "Steamroller" is dedicated to Johnny Winter, and there are echoes of Billy Gibbons and Eric Clapton, all filtered through Hoey's dexterous chops. Now a veteran of 25 years -- he nods toward his surfy beginnings on the album-closing "Soul Surfer" -- Hoey certainly can tip his hat to his peers but he has his own style, one that's designed as an eternal homage to the glory days of classic rock guitar. Dust & Bones hits these points quite strongly: nominally a blues album, it's really a testament to the blues-rock of the late '80s, a time when the guitar hero truly thrived by drawing from the past to celebrate the present. In 2016, Hoey isn't exactly alone -- there's Joe Bonamassa, for one -- but this affectionate glance back at six-string pyromania inadvertently shows us how much things have changed over the years. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released November 18, 2012 | Surfdog Records

The casual observer might be surprised that 2004's The Best of Gary Hoey does not consist of a bunch of Christmas music culled from his Ho! Ho! Hoey albums, but as this 18-track collection proves, there's more to the high-riding guitar virtuoso than chop-laden versions of seasonal classics. There are also covers of classic oldies like "Low Rider," "Wipeout," "Linus and Lucy," Pink Floyd's "Money," "Misirlou," and "Frankenstein," along with a bunch of original material that functions as a vessel for Hoey's relentless playing. All of his albums, save the Christmas records, are well represented here, and there's a pair of previously unreleased cuts, too, including a version of "Rocky Mountain Way," which makes this a good summary of his work to date, and a good introduction to his style, which you will either find to be a good soundtrack to the summer or simply ho-ho-horrid. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released June 28, 1998 | Surfdog Records

Hocus Pocus Live is a dynamic live performance that proves Gary Hoey can replicate his fantastic fretboard trickery with ease in concert. It is true that the versions here aren't radically different from the studio versions -- the little differences will only be of interest to guitar fanatics, who will be able to spot the differences between solos -- but there's enough energy and fire to his performances to make it worthwhile for Hoey fans who aren't guitar fanatics. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released January 1, 1995 | Surfdog Records

With some uninspired instrumental rock performances of rather bland material, Gary Hoey's self-titled 1995 release does not count as one of the guitarist's best. As with his more dynamic debut, Animal Instinct, Gary Hoey leans heavily on shred superstars Joe Satriani and Steve Vai for melodic and textural influence. While the pinch-harmonics and wah-wah pedal extremities match up with the godfathers of gold-selling instrumental rock, the guitar melodies and tone featured on Vai/Satriani knockoffs like "Get a Grip" and the ballad "City Sunrise" posses nowhere near the feeling of Hoey's notable predecessors. In his long and successful career, Hoey managed to get a few inspired songs and performances captured on tape. Unfortunately, none of these highlights are to be found on this recording. ~ Vincent Jeffries
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Rock - Released October 10, 1995 | Surfdog Records

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Rock - Released October 21, 2003 | Surfdog Records

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Rock - Released August 22, 2006 | Surfdog Records

On Gary Hoey's American Made, the guitarist's talent is once again confirmed as he tackles everything from blues to prog rock to metal. He has the most success when he lets his guitar do his talking for him, not because his voice is unpleasant; on the contrary, Hoey can master multiple styles vocally, but his guitar playing trumps his other talents (especially on "Gonzo Guru") and really deserves center stage. Hoey gives an edge to the Tom Cochrane and Red Rider one-time minor progressive rock hit "Lunatic Fringe" and takes his solos to beautiful new levels on the instrumental tracks, "Tribal Mania" and "The Deep." Hoey loses speed with the sappy adult pop/rock ballad "Fades Away," but the tempo picks right back up with rest of the album. His lyrics aren't always the most thought-provoking ("I was hit by a Mack truck/I was runnin' out of bad luck/I was left by the roadside/A swift kick to my backside"), and while they are often predictable, they are seldom boring. Hoey is capable of taking on all kinds of popular music and his guitar playing is impeccable on American Made, an album that makes him stand out more than many of his previous releases have done. ~ Megan Frye
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Rock - Released October 19, 1999 | Surfdog Records

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Rock - Released October 21, 2003 | Surfdog Records

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Blues - To be released March 15, 2019 | Provogue Records

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Rock - Released October 10, 1995 | Surfdog Records

It's a little strange for a cult figure like Gary Hoey to release a holiday album so early in his career, but Ho Ho Hoey is a surprising Christmas album. Hoey certainly uses the opportunity to showcase his stunning technique, but he also decides to play musically, creating a true rarity -- a virtuosic instrumental rock album that will appeal to a wide audience, not just guitar fetishists. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released October 23, 2001 | Surfdog Records

Gary Hoey has delivered many rock remakes of classic Christmas carols throughout his career, but on The Best of Ho! Ho! Hoey, he collects them all onto one album along with some new versions. All the songs are well-known Christmas classics, mixing both secular and Christian carols together. The bizarre part of the whole affair is the arrangements of the songs: Although he may not have written them, he sure does not mind rewriting them to his style. What this makes for is heavy, shredding versions of "God Rest," "Greensleeves," and other melancholy Christmas favorites. With so many slow, peaceful renditions of these songs available, Hoey's approach is not only fresh but also unique. Sure, listeners who do not like guitar virtuoso music will probably not warm up to this album anytime soon, but rock fans who are looking for an up-tempo, aggressive alternative to most Christmas music may want to try this out. ~ Bradley Torreano
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Rock - Released June 21, 2005 | Surfdog Records

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Rock - Released July 7, 1998 | Surfdog Records

Bug Alley is another showcase for Gary Hoey's exceptional instrumental skills, but it falls short of being the crossover breakthrough he is capable of. Part of the problem is Hoey is more interested in playing guitar than recording an album. He hauls out classic rock chestnuts like "Black Magic Woman" and "Gotta Serve Somebody," "reinterpreting" them by making them blues-rock and hard-rock guitar workouts. Granted, his technique is frequently startling, but too often it sounds like a mutant hybrid of Joe Satriani and Stevie Ray Vaughan's worst tendencies. And both of those guitarists knew how to make albums that appealed to musicians, not just guitarists. Perhaps Hoey could learn something from his idols. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released October 19, 1999 | Surfdog Records

There's little question that Gary Hoey is a talented guitarist, capable of spinning out dizzying solos at the drop of the hat. He has a problem making compelling records, though. His fourth proper studio album, Money -- not counting no less than three holiday records and a live album -- starts off on the wrong note with a horridly misguided reworking of Pink Floyd's "Money" as a post-Surfing With the Alien instrumental, complete with a wah-wah melody line. Hoey never quite abandons Joe Satriani throughout the album -- he really hasn't left him behind once in his career, actually -- and the combination of Satch's fluid, rounded technique with a surfer aesthetic is often quite jarring, whether it's on rockers, lite-funk numbers, or melodic album rock cuts that sound a bit like the Satriani number used in the Maxell Tape commercial. It's weird to hear such a technically proficient guitarist with such a laid-back vibe -- after all, most guitar virtuosos go out of their way to show off their chops. To his credit, Hoey never does that. If only he could find stronger material and be more adventurous in his arrangements. At times, it works, but it's all surfer cool and guitar gloss, which means it can be so slick and unassuming that it's hard to hear Hoey's musicianship. And his songwriting doesn't really draw a listener in, either, leaving Money as weird background music -- impeccably played and produced, but never engaging. It will likely please Hoey fanatics, but it's hard not to think that he's capable of more. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released August 21, 2007 | Surfdog Records

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Blues - Released July 29, 2016 | Provogue Records

Dust & Bones finds Gary Hoey picking up where he left off on 2013's Deja Blues. Once again, he's in a heavy blues mode, cranking up his amp to the breaking point and indulging in some old-school theatrics, like working his wah-wah pedal so it sings like Hendrix. That's not the only guitar god whose work is apparent here. "Steamroller" is dedicated to Johnny Winter, and there are echoes of Billy Gibbons and Eric Clapton, all filtered through Hoey's dexterous chops. Now a veteran of 25 years -- he nods toward his surfy beginnings on the album-closing "Soul Surfer" -- Hoey certainly can tip his hat to his peers but he has his own style, one that's designed as an eternal homage to the glory days of classic rock guitar. Dust & Bones hits these points quite strongly: nominally a blues album, it's really a testament to the blues-rock of the late '80s, a time when the guitar hero truly thrived by drawing from the past to celebrate the present. In 2016, Hoey isn't exactly alone -- there's Joe Bonamassa, for one -- but this affectionate glance back at six-string pyromania inadvertently shows us how much things have changed over the years. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine