Dust & Bones
A Damn Fine Tribute To The Blues We All Grew Up With.
As a teenager I was never let down by the Motown and Stax labels, then just about everything on Stiff Records was well worth a listen and now in my dotage Bloodshot and Yep Roc are my ‘go to’ labels for Americana and/or Alt. Country but the Blues has to be Provogue/Mascot.
I can’t think of anything this pairing have sent me that has ever let down; so even though this is Gary Hoey’s 20th (TWENTIETH!!) album and I’d not heard of him; I was pretty certain I would like the contents.
Sure ’nuff the opening (D tuned) Resonator on opening track Boxcar Blues had me playing air guitar; and 30 seconds later Hoey switches to his favourite Strat and the power-trio had me nodding my head in time with the neat. Allegedly the track is a tribute to Led Zeppelin; but to me Hoey’s playing owes a lot more to the late lamented Gary Moore; and that is a compliment of the highest order around these here parts my friend.
As with that song Hoey ‘pays tribute’ to his heroes on every song; with some being more obvious than others, with Steamroller being the best song Johnny Winter never recorded and This Time Tomorrow emulating but never copying 1970’s Robin Trower. Others are less obvious; but that doesn’t matter a hoot as this is Gary Hoey having the time of his life.
There is one really fascinating collaboration tucked away in the middle, with Lita Ford of the Runaways joining Gary on the timeless and heart shredding Coming Home; which I’ve absolutely fallen in love with.
What I especially love about Dust & Bones is that even though Gary Hoey is one Hell of a guitarist, for once we are allowed to hear a singer sing his songs without thundering guitar solos clogging up the channels. Listen to Backs Against the Wall and Blind Faith to hear a master-craftsman at work; but it’s his voice and the lyrics you will remember the following day.
It’s a similar tale with title track Dust & Bones; which shows off Hoey’s rocker pedigree in spades but it is still more about the song than the playing; which I likes a lot.
While Soul Surfer which closes the album is as sweet a Blues instrumental as I’ve ever heard ‘favourite track’ status must go to the Swinging Rhythm AND Blues of Who’s Your Daddy which ticks every single box in the Rocking Magpie Book of the Blues; and for future reference I’d love to hear a full album in this style.
It’s obvious Gary Hoey has ‘been around the block’ the way he seamlessly moves around the Blues map with the greatest of ease; never playing a note out of place; but giving his all from the bottom of his heart; which is so full of Soul it’s fit to burst.
Released July 29th 2016