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Johnny Hoy And The Bluefish

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b. John Cravin Hoy, 10 January 1957, Middletown, Connecticut, USA. Hoy became a musician more by default than plan. He experienced a nomadic childhood with his parents’ divorcing when he was 10. He ricocheted from coast to coast visiting his mother and father, hitchhiking and stowing-away on freight trains. Never graduating high-school, Hoy did a round of various labouring jobs, even passing a brief stint with a circus. Wherever he travelled, he always had a harmonica in his pocket, which he described as ‘just a kind of companion’. Perhaps unsurprisingly, his rootless, lonely existence drew him towards the blues, finding rhythm in the pace of his footsteps. He jammed with other musicians when he met them but never formed long-term partnerships. The decision to play professionally was cemented by the birth of his daughter and a new-found sense of commitment. Playing his harmonica in an ad hoc band at a friend’s wedding gave Hoy the impetus to organize a full-time line-up for his new band, Johnny Hoy And The Bluefish. The band saw over 30 personnel changes over the years, with Hoy, always shifting direction with whatever current members’ inclinations and influences led them. A couple of long-standing fellow musicians are Jeremy Berlin (keyboards) and Paul Size (guitar). So far Hoy and the Bluefish have encompassed styles such as blues (Trolling The Hootchy, You Gonna Lose Your Head) and zydeco, rockabilly, pop (Walk The Plank), all released on Tone-Cool Records. Hoy’s lyrics often display a wild, unpretentious sense of humour; on ‘Love Dog’, he sings ‘I wanna be your mutt. Pat my butt. I wanna love you like my dog loves me’. Finding common ground with a broad range of different American lifestyles and music styles, black soul or white trash, Hoy’s output refuses to be limited to a strict genre category.

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