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Johnny Hoy And The Bluefish

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  • Born: Connecticut
  • Years Active: 1990s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Harmonica player, stone mason and former commercial fisherman Johnny Hoy had good reason to call his band the Bluefish. The group, based in Martha's Vineyard, are all fishing fanatics, and they decided that the basic fighting characteristics of the typical bluefish suited the personalities of everyone in the band at the time.

Hoy was born in Connecticut and raised in New England and southern California. Unlike a lot of more straightahead blues harp player/singers, he has an eclectic set of musical and songwriting influences. They include Tom Waits, James Cotton, Ellen McIlwaine and Muddy Waters. Waters frequented a club called the Shaboo Inn in Willimantic, CT in the 1970s, and Hoy was there at every show, jaws hanging agape at the sheer musical wizardry of the band of Chicago blues veterans.

Hoy and the Bluefish play a wide range of American roots music, not just Chicago blues, and this is reflected on their two albums for the Boston-based ToneCool Records. Hoy describes his band as a house-rockin' ensemble that enjoys playing clubs as much as it does theaters. Hoy and the Bluefish sneak zydeco music, some early rock & roll, some jump/swing blues, New Orleans funk and rockabilly into their live shows.

The band cut their collective musical teeth in the greater Boston area, playing numerous functions on Martha's Vineyard, where Hoy has lived for the last two decades. On several occasions, they have played private parties for President Clinton and other Democratic party leaders.

The band's two releases on ToneCool have titles that are both clever references to bluefishing jargon, Trolling the Hootchy (1995) and You Gonna Lose Your Head (1996). Their raw, garage band sounds are sure to delight fans of roadhouse blues and blues-rock for years to come.