Jay Hooks has been playing around Houston area and Texas for a long time and this CD gives me the feel that his real element is the live setting.
That's not saying that this CD is bad by any means, but the style of music just screams for a live club setting. Hooks started playing guitar
when he was ten and was taken with Stevie Ray Vaughn, Johnny Winter and Jimi Hendrix. As a lot of other artists, Jay Hooks spent a few years
performing as a sideman honing his chops and I believe he learned his lessons well.
The CD I received has no information other than the song titles and CD title and the web site doesn't go into detail as to who the additional
musicians are, other than to say that Jerry Gaskill from Kings X is on drums.
This is a CD that just grabs you from the first track and doesn't let go. With the sad state of radio, CD's like this make me feel like saying
"yes Virginia, there is good music out there!" There are twelve tracks that are mostly fast Texas style blues, and the CD was produced by
Hadden Sayers, another Houston guitar player who is worth checking out whenever he is in town.
The CD opens up with 'Burnin Up', a shuffle with Texas style guitar. It doesn't open up any new territory from a musical standpoint, but it's a
good listen anyway. This sounds like it would be a good bar tune. 'Last Stand" expands on the rhythm a bit with a Hendrix vibe, with a wah
guitar backing. 'Once Around The Moon' has vocals that remind me more of Lemmy from Motorhead or Leslie West than anything else. The whole song
has a Mountain feel to it. 'Cold Natured Thang' is a fast Texas shuffle with a solid rock backing. 'Strong Love' has a Stevie Ray Vaughn feel to
it with a solid Texas rhythm and a medium tempo. 'Findin My Way' 'Wicked Wayward Son' digs into the Robert Johnson dobro slide style of
blues. Very basic, and very raw without a lot of production. It's certainly a departure from the rest of the CD. It makes a nice contast
adding to the overall variety. 'Across The Pond' returns to the rockin blues format. Guitar riffs form the basis of the song and don't let up
until over three minutes later. This song is more rock than blues. 'Lowlands' gets into a 'Hot Rod Lincoln' feel more than anything else.
The heritige of the song is apparent. Again this is a fast tempo and would be a good bar song. 'Half Hell & Half Voodoo' pays tribute to
SRV's Texas Flood. This is a tried a true formula that people really dig. Overdriven guitar work is as expexted here. Again, there's not much
new territory explored here, but I like it. 'Freedom' as expected is pure Hendrix with solid guitar work.
Bottom Line: Solid Texas rockin blues with lots of guitar work. If your a guitar freak, or you dig Texas style blues, then you should like this
CD. the musicianship is good, the vocals work well within the setting, although they are not fantastic. If you like Texas blues, then you
should like this CD. There's not a lot of new territory explored here, but Jay Hooks has explored and knows the territory well. These guys
should be really good in a live setting based upon the CD. Lots of energy and blues rock attitude. I give it three out of five stars.
Jay Hooks - guitars and vocals
Jerry Gaskill - drums
Web sites: www.jayhooks.com
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