I saw the name Eric Loy on the event schedule for the Indianapolis Artsgarden, followed by two words that I love to hear: Harp Guitar.
Eric had already started playing by the time I walked in. As I made my way down the hall, to Indy's glass-domed venue, I could already tell this was going to be a fun event to attend. The sound coming from the stage was far different from what I expected. Eric churned out an acoustic jambalaya of notes by plucking, tapping, and slapping just about any part of the instrument he could find with his hands. Without looking frantic and without sounding forced, Eric played the entire instrument in a way that illustrated how versatile a guitar can be as a string, as well as, percussion instrument. I'm sure that, if he could, Eric would find a way to play music by plucking his amp cord. I thought it was great how he addressed the audience. He used kind of a "radio announcer" voice, making funny comments and telling jokes through the show. He is definitely an entertainer!
The first part of Eric's show was played on a "cowboy guitar". I really enjoyed a few minutes where he played a medley of television show tunes. He played an interesting range of music, taking the audience on a rollercoaster ride through classical, jazz, and theme songs. Like spiders catching prey in their web, Eric's hands crawled over the guitar neck with purpose and determination. A little over halfway into his performance, Eric walked back and grabbed his 24-string custom Mark Kaiser Dyer-design harp guitar. Now, I have to admit, this is what I was really waiting for. I have enjoyed a bit of harp guitar in the past, and here was a new artist for me to hear. I was pretty excited. It was one thing to watch Eric finger-style the cowboy guitar, but it was another experience, entirely, watching him do it with a 24-stringed instrument. Switching overhand to underhand several times per tune, while never skipping a beat, his music was as much athleticism as art.
One tune really stood out for me. While playing his version of Carol of the Bells, Eric strolled over and kicked a couple of pedals, transforming his harp guitar into a shredding leviathan. Seriously, I had hair standing on end. I can't describe the sound. Thanks to the internet, however, I can link you to a video.
I can't compare Eric Loy with any other musician that I have heard. Eric has some really unique sounds, which is the result of playing his instruments with what seems to be a greater understanding of the instrument's purpose. Any young person seriously interested in playing guitar should check out Eric Loy.
Eric Loy Web: http://www.ericloy.com
Carol of the Bells: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VORVJyk07iE
My gallery of photographs of Eric Loy: http://www.leosynapse.com/e107_files/images/Gallery_EricLoy/index.html
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