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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Gary Hoey

Neon Highway Blues

Review by Gary Hill

This new album from guitar hero Gary Hoey, as the title suggests, is a bluesy one. Not everything here is set in the blues, but most of it is. There are some guests on some of the tunes, trading riffs with the main man himself. There is a good balance between instrumentals and vocal tracks and modern and old-school flavors. Personally, I think it is just a little inconsistent, but it's quite strong nonetheless.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Under The Rug

      

(feat. Eric Gales)

A smoking hot blues rocker, this is a great way to start the set in style. It's a modern version of the blues and has some incendiary guitar soloing later on in the track. I love how the guitar soloing alternates between guitar-god styled stuff and more traditional blues styles.

Mercy Of Love
      
(feat. Josh Smith)

Here we get a much more old-school, traditional blues jam. The guitar soloing on this focuses more tightly around the classic blues styles. That said, it still gets into some powerhouse stuff.

Your Kind Of Love
When you talk about old-school blues, this one is even more tied to that genre. The slide guitar is on fire, and the whole thing oozes cool.
Don't Come Crying
             
(feat. Ian Hoey)

The old school blues meets modern edge on this is so cool. Ian Hoey (Gary Hoey's 17-year-old son) trades riffs with his dad on this number.

Still Believe In Love
We're into some serious old school blues with this up-tempo number. The organ brings some real retro flavoring, but the whole piece really has it even without that. I love the powerhouse guitar soloing on this beast.
Almost Heaven
More of a modern sound is on hand here. This still has some of the blues element, but overall is more of a soaring, fairly modern rock based number. It's a cool instrumental.
I Felt Alive
The guitar sound that starts this is very metallic. They fire out from there into a scorching hot riff-driven rocker that has a real metal edge to it. Sure, there is still some blues at the core, but overall this is much more of a modern metal tune. It drops to just the rhythm section and a guitar fill comes over the top before the vocals join. I love the expressive guitar soloing on this tune. As it approaches the five-minute mark it hits a crescendo and drops away. Piano rises up from there and the guitar solos a bit over the top of that until the end of the piece.
Waiting on the Sun
A mellow texture that has more of a classic rock vibe to it brings this into being. This instrumental covers a lot of musical territory. It even leans a bit toward progressive rock. There are also some parts of it that make me think of metal just a little.
Damned If I Do
      
(feat. Lance Lopez)
A hard rocking tune, there is a lot of blues built into this. It has a cool rock grind, but the slide guitar brings the old-school blues big time. This is another with a bit of a  metal edge to it at times. The guitar soloing, though, brings the blues with a passion and a fire.
Living The Highlife
A bit more on the traditional blues side, this is a solid rocker. It has a bit more of an edgy sound than traditional blues. I wouldn't consider it a standout, but it is strong.
Neon Highway Blues

The closing instrumental track is a bit mellower. It has classic blues at its heart in some ways, along with some hints of country. That said, the overall vibe is sort of a dreamy mellow psychedelic rock one. It's a cool tune, but I'm not sure the wisdom of ending the set with it.

 
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