News Articles Featured Artist: Eric Loy
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Eric Loy is an innovative guitarist, from Ohio. He's one third of the eclectic jazz trio "The Hipperoos", a band that he formed in 1990 with Scott Reed and Tim Shoemaker, two friends he's been playing with for over 25 years. So you know when these guys get to improvising they're tight, and with a pocket you could climb into. Eric's playing with The Hipperoos has a sharp rock edge, while remaining true blue to the Jazz format. His solos balance perfectly between Jazz traditionalist and avante adventurer, with a little rock rebellion. There's also a great sense of fun in Eric's playing, making me just smile out of nowhere sometimes. This guy's having a blast and it carries over to the listener.

Eric is also an acoustic fingerstyle solo performer, going almost a full 180º from the plugged in mad jazz of the Hipperoos. While still keeping the free feeling of his Jazz stylings, his acoustic material is much more disciplined. And when he's performing on his Harp Guitar (see it) complex is a given. Eric's acoustic playing shows a whole different side of this incredible musician. His playing includes influences from Classical to Jazz to New Age and Country. While his electric Jazz playing is free, feeling almost precarious, his acoustic playing, and Harp Guitar specifically is much more disciplined without being constrictive. You get the feeling of freedom and fun, but the whole time you can't help but take this musician seriously. And acknowledge his virtuosity and unique creativity. I say that "an original artist is one that you can't describe by comparing to someone else". I honestly don't know anyone that sounds like this. Eric Loy is a true original! Eric has an aggressive even percussive style when playing acoustic. A heavy picker who adds a percussive texture by banging on the guitar, using even the body itself as an instrument. Eric's acoustic compositions can be furious and fun to spiritual, even inspiring. He'll take you from a foot stomping bluegrass picker to a jaw dropping aural vista, meticulously detailed, and executed with the skills of a master.

Eric has opened for such luminaries as Leo Kottke, Preston Reed, Adrian Legg, Jorma Kaukonen and others.

He has 3 releases with The Extemporaneous Hipperoos, as well as 5 solo releases including a Christmas CD. All of the CD's are available at his site
I recently reviewed of his Catapult CD. He features his newly commissioned Harp Guitar throughout this CD. He also plays the piano, banjo and electric guitar on the CD. So be sure to Check Out My Review of Eric Loy's newest CD "CATAPULT". Review of Catapult
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"CATAPULT" is the newest solo release by Eric Loy, the guitarist for the "Extemporaneous Hipperoos". A Jazz trio that excels in improvisation, earning the title "extemporaneous". I would say Eric is part visionary and part Jazz madman. He's a creative and articulate guitarist/composer who cross breeds styles and genres to create a hybrid sound all his own.
"Catapult" is full of adventurous and vibrant songs that challenge the mind, heart and soul. An overall feeling of joy fills the CD making it more than entertaining, it's Fun! It's full of many different styles, with Eric playing a few different instruments, making for a diverse and ever changing journey into the unique stringed world of this gifted player. As I pointed out, Eric plays more than just the guitar on "Catapult". He also plays Banjo, Piano, Harmonica and the unique flavor on the CD, the Harp Guitar. The Harp Guitar is an acoustic guitar with an extra independent set of strings, giving the guitarist much more range and depth, as well as more creative possibilities. Or in Eric's case, several set's of strings. Check out a photo of this wonderful instrument , you won't believe it. After seeing this specially created guitar, I better understand how Eric can get so many sounds out of it. Little did I know, he was the master of a truely unique instrument.

When I hear the Harp Guitar the first person to come to mind is Michael Hedges. Although not primarily a Harp Guitar player, he was the first one to bring the resurgence of this classic instrument to my attention. Eric takes this unusual sounding instrument into a whole different direction as I hoped he would. Maybe it's Eric's strong Jazz background, but I find his approach to playing as well as composing for the Harp Guitar to be refreshing. His approach is somewhat similar to Michael Hedges, but from outside the box. And his creativity is what puts him outside the box. It's enough that this dynamic guitarist can play like that, but he also thinks like this, too. I don't know if this is the mind of a genius or the mind of a madman, but it's tapped into a part of the universe so far unexplored.
"Catapult" is a unique and creative CD full of songs that blend contemporary feeling melodys with highly technical fingerstyle playing, many songs with an underlying bluesy/jazz or classical influence. This is one of those CD's where the compositions are as strong as the performance. The songs are free and wild to strict and complex. Clearly a disciplined player with a flowing natural performance, and among the masters of the Harp Guitar.

This CD never leaves you in one place too long, constantly moving and changing direction. Each turn bringing something new and always interesting. On "Catapult" Eric will leave you stirred and shaken. He stirs things up right off, opening with "Gangplank", a bluesy ball of fire played on the Harp Guitar. My jaw just dropped the first time I heard this track....Wow! Then Eric shakes things up on the way out, ending with an electric MadJazz tune "Four In The Furnace" ala The Hipperoos. And in between Eric goes through a variety of styles and influences mostly expressed through the Harp Guitar. Since being graced with the beauty of this instrument on Eric's CD, I have fallen in love with it, atleast in the hands of Eric. On the stops off the main path Eric shows off his bluegrass picking skills on "Bustlin", his piano skills on another hot number "Caveat Knave" and his plugged in Jazz on the smooth as satin "Tomato Assassin" and the burning "Four In The Furnace".

On three of the latter songs on the disc "Boomerang", "Tomato Assassin" and "Four In The Furnace", Eric picks up the electric guitar and lays down three very different Jazz grooves. "Boomerang" is a straight Jazz song with a funky groove you just have to move to. "Tomato Assassin" is a sophisticated Jazz song with a strut feel and a tastefully aggressive lead that I just love. And "Four In The Furnace" has a rock feel, with avant Jazz solo delivered with blistering intensity.