Jay Hooks

What the world needs now may be love, but does it really need yet another Texas bluesman? Even the staunchest of naysayers might have to change their minds after hearing the searing guitar work of Jay Hooks. The 32-year-old Houston native is celebrating the release of his self-titled CD on Provogue Records, which features a dozen cuts that fairly fry the CD player. Hooks manages to combine both speedy technical skill and real feeling in blues rockers like "Easy Way Out," "Last Time I Left Memphis" and "Where You Goin'?" There's an everything-and-the-outhouse-sink approach to his fretwork that actually delivers: pedals, roller-coaster solos, note bending and sound effects, often in the same number. And while his singing voice is pretty limited and his writing (mostly with David Whitehead) sometimes falls deep into the pit of blues clichés ("Voodoo Woman," "Hell on Heels"), his playing skill overcomes those deficiencies and is in all probability even better live than on record. Hooks, who by his own admission squarely apes the Jimi Hendrix/ Stevie Ray Vaughan style of playing, also has no intention of backing off from his obvious influences. This show and CD release party for Jay Hooks will also mark his first local gig after spending a month touring Europe, where he undoubtedly represented Texas culture well with that big-ass cowboy hat with flames on the side.
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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero