Low down and dirty; blues played as it was originally intended to sound like
Based in the wonderfully named Fort Dodge in Iowa, Erick Hovey learnt the basic blues scale when he was only eight years old. Erick has improved on this in such a stupendous way that this album makes you wonder why you haven’t come across his name before. Out of these dozen tunes, the delightful
Patchouli certainly grabbed my attention. It is songs like this which make you yearn for an extended version as this groove never becomes tiresome. Fight That Monkey opens with guitar but this is soon joined by vocals which blew me away. Pronounced by Real Blues Magazine as being among their top one hundred new releases for 2009, I would urge others to follow their and my own advice to try their utmost to track down a copy of this very distinguished record.
Russell Hill / Maverick Magazine / UK
Erick Hovey is from Iowa, where when he’s not busy tilling the soil as a fifth-generation farmer, he’s making some really cool music. Hovey recently released a pair of CDs that mix blues influences with styles like rock, jazz, soul, reggae, and funk. Hovey began playing the blues at local taverns at the tender age of 14, but has expanded over the years to take in many venues and festivals around the U.S. Midwest.
The first of these releases, Blues Farm, is the most blues-oriented of the two. The opener, “Ball and Chain,” has a slow, moody, funky backdrop with some terrific understated guitar work. “Know Who You Are” is more upbeat, almost blues/rock with Hovey’s ragged but right guitar, and features some tasty harmonica from Andy Blumenthal and keyboards from Tom Gary. “Soda Pop Girl” is a gentle swinger about a girl who drives our protagonist around town while he drinks, and “Patchouli” is highlighted by Hovey’s stinging guitar fills.
Other highlights include the atmospheric “Runnin’ With A Full Moon,” the jazzy workout, “Fight That Monkey,” “Missing Part,” and the guitar-driven shuffle, “I’m Through.” Hovey’s a fine guitarist and his vocals are solid and suit the material well, and he gets excellent support from Blumenthal (harmonica), Gary (keys), Jeff Foreman (drums), Dan Lodden (bass), and Heather Kelly (vocals). This is a pretty solid set of Midwest blues that will please most blues fans.
A lot of the same ground is covered on Recycled Souls, but with more of a rock edge, and slightly more emphasis on songwriting. Highlights on Recycled Souls include “When Will I See You Again,” “Half Dead,” “What You Doin’ Here,” “Ain’t Done With You,” “Here Again,” “Thousand Times,” and “Feels So Good Hurts So Bad.” It’s a first-rate set of songs, with the same band in support (plus bass player Andy Schneider on one track).
One of the highlights of reviewing CDs for Blues Bytes over the years is that I’ve been exposed to music that I wouldn’t have otherwise heard. Over the past few years, I’ve discovered that the Midwest is a very reliable source of blues and roots music. Erick Hovey is another name that I’ve added to the list and he will be placed toward the top. He’s an excellent guitarist and singer, a fine composer, and meshes various genres seamlessly to really make his own unique musical style. I highly recommend both of these discs.
Graham Clarke / Blues Bytes
Someone like Erick Hovey from Fort Dodge, IA, you will not find every day. He’s a fifth generation farmer who throughout the day he drives his tractor over the fields and in the evening he writes blues and roots songs. Depending on the season, sometimes he plants the seeds or he brings in the harvest and once he is done with that he will sit down with good friends and play songs and give concerts in the clubs around his neighborhood.
Now Erick has four different kinds of genera going on between Blues Farm and Recycled Souls. He published those two CDs with altogether 28 songs and they sound between delta mood and Neil Young’s Prairie Wind. So what I would like to say is that it is not 100% blues but also blues with country and rock elements. Hovey pays special attention to the unforgettable fat grooves as a guitar player and he dose like to put a dose of heavy duty grooves into his work. Therefore you can see all the different colors of the sounds when he plays his guitar. From tender acoustic guitar all the way to the wha wha, he can take you all the way back into the 70s in his repertoire. His most important influences were Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page with Led Zeppelin. That’s what he says. And you most certainly will believe him. All you have to do is go ahead and listen to his music, and oh, in between you will also hear a little bit of Tony Joe White and JJ Cale.
The question is which one of the two CDs is better. Well actually don’t even ask yourself because there’s no way to decide. Enjoy both of them. And you can even listen to them one after the other, one after the other, one after the other, because these songs will last forever into another hundred years and still be up to date.
Bluesnews / Germany
Erick Hovey has a double release on the market with the discs Blues Farm and Recycled Souls.
I am curious as to how in his daily life as a farmer he is able to find time at night to make masterpieces.
These CDs take you on a trip through a landscape of music: blues, folk, jazz, pop, latin, and reggae.
On the Blues Farm CD, you’ll be tossed from the JJ Cale-like Know Who You Are to the Jazzy Soda Pop Girl to the bluesy song Patchouli to the laid back jazzy tearjerker Missing Part, then to a jump-blues tune I’m Through, followed with ease by the reggae styled Talkin Bout Love.
The same variation also appears on Recycled Souls which is on a whole of a more robust nature.
These CDs I can play at a higher volume at home because my better half appreciates Erick’s music greatly.
It’s unbelievable that this artist is still unknown in the Netherlands. He would not go amiss in many theaters.
Jan van Eck / VanEckBlues / Netherlands
Erick Hovey lives in Fort Dodge, Iowa, where his full-time profession is running his family’s farm. He follows farming practices to preserve topsoil by tilling the ground once every two or three years instead of annually. By day, he is a farmer. But when night comes, Erick picks up the electric guitar. Now, after four CDs with his four-piece band and many live concert performances, a growing group of people are discovering his music. Erick plays the blues from an educated perspective—completely dedicated to the tradition. Yet he offers something different through his poetic lyrics and deep insights into life’s journey.
To begin your journey with Erick, I recommend his most recent CDs, put out in 2009, Blues Farm and Recycled Souls. These two collections will tease you with delightful hooks. From Blues Farm , start with Ball and Chain and Baby Come Home. When Erick engages in his middle eight and ending instrumental sections, don’t be surprised to find yourself swaying to the beat and dancing across the room. On Recycled Souls, where he traverses themes of reincarnation, the track Here Again speaks volumes. This one sounds like something Mark Knopfler might have conjured with tasteful, mellow guitar and simple, thoughtful lyrics, Hello, stranger. Hello, old friend. I can’t believe, can’t believe we’re here again. And all along, Hovey’s guitar dances and seduces with sparkling tones.
If you like these tracks, consider the Robert Cray-sounding Blues And Love from Prairie Dance Music (2002). Erick indicates he is currently putting together his fifth CD. Check his website for concert appearances in Iowa.
Like the blues, but want something new? Erick Hovey’s Blues Farm cd is the album for you. Original material, extremely well done, great to listen to.
Variety of tempos on different songs lets this CD stay in the player so it repeats several times before I go to the next one. It is really nice to understand the vocal tracks, the mix doesn't overpower them. In fact the sonics are excellant and worth listening to because of the great mixing.
So far my favorites on this CD are Patchouli and Soda Pop Girl, but only by a slim margin. Track 10-Talkin about Love has me guessing if he was going for cajun or reggae rythym- both my feet are tappin in time so it could be both. I have his other three albums and can recommend them as well.
Amazon.com review / Five Stars from Dave in WA
Erick Hovey’s CD Blues Farm is smooth, cool blues with a hip lounge sound in some tracks --Soda Pop Girl (track 3) might be the coolest song ever about a designated driver—combined with grinding guitar in other tracks. Great swing that veers toward the blues.
Chris Evans / WRUV / VT
Erick Hovey 'Blues Farm'
Its just less than 40 years since the release of JJ Cale's 'Naturally'. And while it took rock fans a few years more to catch up on to the septuagenarian's understated take on the blues, he perfected a style that is as enduring as it is influential all these years later.
Of course for every JJ Cale there's a coterie of guitarists of a similar persuasion who prefer to eschew volume and speed and blend together the more intricate parts of the blues tapestry. Mid-Western blues guitarist Erick Hovey is undoubtedly one of a kind, a player who celebrates the virtues of space, time and presence. His latest 'Blues Farm' cd bears a title that is almost the perfect metaphor for a hot house of the blues, developing the subtler seeds of the genre in between the cracks.
More than that, Erick is someone who is at ease with himself. He seems to be aware of his limited vocal range, but he doesn't worry about that as he lets his guitar do all the talking for him holding an exquisite bluesy tinged conversation over some smouldering fluid grooves and well crafted songs. Erick is a master of rich tones and textures, sweet melodies, expressive phrasing, real feel and always the blues.
And as he explores the blues in a sultry meandering way he's unafraid to take on board disparate influences from the almost Skanking feel of 'Baby Come Home' to the Latino/Bossa beat of 'Running With A Full Moon' as well as lovely diversions though shuffles and muscular funk ('Going Down') to the belated twin guitar intro on the cd's' outro. 'Can't Fall Down' is a succinct concluding guitar blow out that suggests he can jam with the best of them.
'Blues Farm' is an understated work of elegance and poise and fluency. Where others overstate their abilities or resort to cliché Hovey treads his own path. He may growl on 'Know Who You Are', he may add a contrasting piercing guitar line to the laid back shuffling stroll of 'Patchouli' and he may slip in a contrasting tone on the gentle shuffle rhythm of 'Missing Part', but there's a signature sound at play here. Erick Hovey's playing embodies a discernable voice and a real unique feel for the blues that will surely gain him plenty more fans.
**** (4/5) © www.getreadytorock.com
Review by Pete Feenstra / 7-5-10 / UK
Erick Hovey is an eclectic honest musician gifted with a clever inspiration, he clearly shows in his latest two cds, Blues Farm and Recycled Souls. Undoubtedly he is a very talented song writer with a seductive and sensuous qualities, who feels comfortable in all grounds of roots traditional music like blues, swing, country, pop or Americana, something not very usual on a singer, guitar player and song writer coming from Fort Dodge, Iowa who also belongs to the fifth generation of country farmers. Anyway, Eric shows himself as a poetic sensible composer with a clever sense of life reality. In fact "Recycled Souls" and "Blues Farm" are very different albums but they have a close thread about vitalist concepts and even I dare would say with a phantasmagoric touch, but at the same time with an introspective musical special charm full of groove, feeling, deep peace and a dazzling absorbing brightness able to give a sight back to a blind man. Twenty-six songs with not a single bad note on them you should calmly listen to in a peaceful atmosphere, with an open mind and a relaxed attitude to discover and savour new good feelings. VERY GOOD.
LA HORA DEL BLUES / Barcelona, Spain
I give both these CD's (Blues Farm and Recycled Souls), my highest rating, Five*****
Excellent CD's... Thoroughly enjoyed it... Highly Recommended...
John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
For the life of me I don't know why I have not heard of Erick Hovey, but I am extremely happy to now have met his acquaintance with not one but two new dynamic releases, "Recycled Souls" and "Blues Farm".
With "Recycled Souls" and "Blues Farm", Erick Hovey has firmly entrenched himself as not only a fine musician, but also a superb lyricist, with songs that have no problem connecting with all whom listen to them.
With a voice and sound similar to Mark Knopfler's, Erick Hovey had no problem hooking me in from the very first opening tracks.
Erick is certainly a real gem that clearly shines through all the clutter and pretentiousness that to often permeates our airwaves.
This is the first time I have awarded a double release my highest rating 5***** and it was also, after listening to "Recycled Souls" and "Blues Farm", one of my easiest decisions.
John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
"Erick, I listened to Blues Farm and let me tell you that I really enjoyed it, your music sounds very very good! I'm going to include the albums in our playlists. We have a Blues festival in Bogota that takes place every year. I think that may be you can get a chance to perform here in Colombia. "
Miguel Ortiz / Javeriana Estereo 91.1 FM / Columbia
"I received the cds. Had time to listen / prep "Blues Farm". Very impressed! Professional package."
Swede / FatCat Radio
"Rootsy, modern blues sound. Good guitar work, well crafted songs. "
Jonathan Michael / WESU / CT
Erick Hovey did the seemingly impossible by being tight yet loose; his singing and playing style is laid back in the best JJ Cale tradition, yet his band is as tight as the proverbial ducks rear-end.
Star Blues / UK
"ERICK HOVEY, singer-songwriter from Iowa, has a good band and a nice line in lead guitar. Recycled Souls is a powerful album of original songs for those who like good old-fashioned rock without the posing. 'Ain't Done With You' should be a world-wide smash. "
R2 Magazine / UK
"Hi Erick, I have received two CDs. I liked them very much and I'm going to play them on Radio eM. I am also going to review them for my magazine."
Andrzej Matysik / www.delta.art.pl / Poland
"Erick, Thanks for the albums, very nice and a breath of fresh air."
Gary Blue / STAR BLUES / UK
"Hi Erick, I will be playing your music on my radio-show. I like both of your different cd`s very much. I will send you the playlist with the titles I have played. Today I don`t know which pieces I'll play, because all are excellent. Till then greetings from Hamburg. "
Ursula Goretzky / Germany
"Midwestern alt-bluesman Erick Hovey's music is raw, honest and very fluid. This is some of the most unique blues that I have heard in some time and I'm very pleased to have Erick as my guest ... heck ... I'm down right ... Excited! "
Bob Rice / "Crossroads" , KYRS / Spokane, WA
"There can be no doubting Hovey's musicianship, make no mistake."
"Hey Erick. DJ Yorkie here also a musician. Got the Cds "Blues Farm " and Recycled Souls" Both are fantastic works. I am planning to do a big feature about you on my show. Maybe we could do an Interview via skype? You have a lot of fans and I'd love to get your music out there. "
Andy (DJ Yorkie) / AiiRadio.net / Ballymoney , Ireland
"Hi Erick, I have been playing your music on "The Blues Cafe". I will be charting soon. I certainly enjoy your music. Thanks for Keeping the Blues alive!!! "
Sherry Wine / WBZC / Waterford, NJ
"Erick, tonight on my Blues Highway Show, I spun tracks from both your cd's. Very nics stuff. I chart monthly to Living Blues and don't see any reason one or both shouldn't make it in the top 25 for next month. Thanks for sharing your wonderful music with us here at WBOR. "
Mike Halmo / WBOR / Brunswick, Maine
"Blues guitarist, very personal, who mixes rock and roots, with strong influences by JJ Cale, Eric Clapton and Larry Carlton: that is soul, style and technique. It is not the first album, has already some behind him, his music is original, direct and pleasant. "
"Hi Erick; Your CD's arrived today. They are absolutely brilliant! I am preparing them for air as we speak. I know several station that would kill to have your work. I am so pleased to be working with you. You are such an outstanding talent. "
Wendy Shashona McCall / NSW, Australia
"Great stuff, Erick! Both discs in rotation and getting attention already! Thanks so much. "
Suzanne Cheavens / KOTO Music Director / Telluride, CO
"Greetings, Erick, and the best of the new year to you! Music from "Blues Farm" is about to hit the airwaves of my syndicated blues radio show, At the Crossroads. I am truly enjoying the album, by the way, and more music from it will appear in the program. Thanks, Erick! "
Brant Zwicker / At The Crossroads / Canada
"Thanks for your cds Blues Farm and Recycled Souls. I totally dig those albums. If y'all ever wanna schedule a cocert for either the Amarillo, TX or Garden City, KS studios, I'd love to make that happen."
John Black / High Plains Public Radio
"I write for Blues In Britain magazine and the review appeared in November 09 issue. I enjoyed both CDs but particularly Blues Farm - it's good to hear a guitarist who doesn't play at a million notes a minute! I'm a big fan of Peter Green and the less is more school of play. Cheers, Jim "
Blues In Britin Magazine / Jim Greaves
"Hello Erick Hovey, I am the webmaster of www.bluesforum.nl and www.bluesforum.com and I am sending you this note because your cd's Recycled Souls and Blues Farm are both running for the Bluesforum.nl CD Award. "
Ziggy / Administrator / Largest Dutch-spoken blues community on the web.
"Thank you so much Erick! It's a pleasure to broadcast your music. Good, soulful blues, true and moved. (and beautiful graphics!) Thank you for your work and passion Erick! "
Agnieszka Górka / Editor / 24hRadioDerf / POLAND
"I like your music a lot. I would call it roots music with a deep bluesy feel, very interesting. From fat grooves and rhythmic patterns, through strong vocals and meaningful lyrics, all the way to a tight backing band - makes listening to your albums a pleasure. very cool. "
Przemek Draheim / Radio Sfera / Torun, Poland
"Erick, I gotta tell ya, I listened to 'Souls' this morning and thought it was great. Liked every track. Hits our new rock shelf tomorrow, and I'll get to your blues cd next week. thanks again for sending it along. "
Jeff / WMHB / Waterville,ME
"I love this. (Soda Pop Girl) Gonna get it up on the station this week."
Sheila Cain / Blues City Radio / Beaumont,TX
"Hey man - you are good. Listening to "Soda Pop Girl" and "Know Who You Are". I like it. Your music is at least as good as the best independent stuff we have received. I wish you well, hope you get lot's of airplay and I'll play your songs on my morning show as well in our regular mix. "
Ric / gulchradio.com / AM1670 KCRJ / Jerome, AZ
"Hi Erick. This week I received the cd's, "RECYCLED SOULS" and "BLUES FARMS". Thank you very much. I heard the music and I have to say I liked it. I think the cd's are excellent, very quality. I will play them soon on my radio show. "
Josep Palmada / Radio Vilafant / Spain
"I did receive your 2 cds : Blues farm et Recycled Souls. I really enjoy them and have already spread " Soda pop Girl " in my 183th radiobroadcast (Jazz with babou). I will broadcast 2 next music titles in my next radio show Congratulations for you 2 albums."
Bernard BOURET / "Jazz avec babou" / Producer and Director / Orealns, France
"I've played several cuts off both "Recycled Souls" and "Blues Farm" on the air, and I have to say; I love 'em. I'd also like to extend an invitation to you if you're ever in the area again to stop by the station and do an on-air interview spot. Again...love the music."
Gary Monte / KFMG Radio / Des Moines, IA
"Hello Erick ! I just receive this morning the two CD's you send me. At the moment I'm listening "recycled souls". I love the spirit of your music. I will begin to play one of your songs next Monday, I don't choose yet which one, but you'll receive my play list. Bravo Erick! Best regards "
César / Radio Coteaux / Montpeza, France
"Hi. I've played "I Wanna Know Who You Are" a few times on my show. It's got a cool Howlin' Wolf-style to it. You really did a great job with the cd. Very diversified. Best of luck. Thanx for the music. "
Cornel / Tangled Up In Blues / Ohio, USA
"Hello Erick, THANK YOU SO MUCH for send two cds recording , it's VERY VERY GOOD MUSIC BLUES , for radio show thursday night see you soon , amities "
Jean Louis Poirier / émission Du Blues Sinon Rien / Radio BETON / France
"Hi Erick, Greetings from Skopje, Macedonia. Enclosed is one of my recent radio playlists which include your excellent material. Looking forward to presenting more from you in the future! "
"Hello Erick ! Thanks for the Cd's ! Your music is great, really !!! I hope to see you soon in France for a european tour (and a radio interview ;-)) Welcome in my playlist. All the best. Peace "
David BAERST, RDL Radio, COLMAR FRANCE
"Blues Farm, Erick Hovey's 09 release, is listed among the top 100 new releases."
Real Blues Magazine
"Finding Erick Hovey's two 09 releases "Blues Farm" and "Recycled Souls", was like finding that "rare blues pearl" in a sea of sound alike blues songs...this is the injection the blues needs." "
Tom @ Rocket 88 FM
"A heady mix of meaty, soulful grooves. Just goes to show you that Iowa boys play their music card decks close to the vest until delivery - no boasting, no grandstanding, just deliver the musical goods when needed. And boy, this delivers!"
"Erick Hovey has managed to build his own blues style….you will discover some new elements on the Blues Farm cd that will surprise you"
Miaden Loncar, soundgaurdian.com, Croatia
"You really can't put Erick into a box. It isn't that over the top, wish I was Stevie Ray Vaughn style of guitar, but the playing of a guy who knows what he is doing and making great music."
Tom Gary, Blues Historian
"Erick Hovey is a complete and exciting musician who at any time, knows what works and what to do….I warmly recommend that you do not miss the musical piece of work called Recycled Souls.
Miaden Loncar, soundgaurdian.com, Croatia
"Blues Farm" and "Recylcled Souls" are two very good and pleasant albums, bluesy in the feel with echoes of J.J. Cale as well the best Americana style here and there and a bunch of very fine songs.
Massimo Ferro, Radio Voce Spazio, ITALY
"Hovey's Midwestern sound, has become a sure bet with disc jockeys in places as far away as France, the Netherlands, South America and Canada"
Cityview, Des Moines, IA