Upstate New York legend Tommy Hoe has been busy, secretly and safely recording a new record at Studio 1311 in Pennsylvania.The record “EYE OF A DREAM” was produced by Brian Kors and engineered by Gregory Brady. A slew of amazing musicians were tapped including Doug Gramo, Brian Kors, Cole Will, Alex Uskuraits, Keith Giosa, Bill Butryn, Michael Ronstadt, Jake L’Armand and Greg Brady.
The album kicks off with “One More Stranger In The Night” a mellow tune with an incredible horn arrangement that suits Hoe’s gravely yet soothing voice. The lyrics are just like the singer himself, wise with a full life of adventure “You might say I’ve been affected by the fact I’ve been rejected, you might say, you might say I’ve got the stars in my eyes, but on closer observation you might note that on occasion a grown make takes the time to cry.” Track two is titles the “Bartenders Lament” and harkens back to old relationships and the joy and looniness of being a touring musician. The back line is tight and gives a rollicking vision to another great song that slides so well into whole.
“Eye of a Dream” the title track reminds one of the incredible Los Lobos and the mix is pristine on this fun tune. You can almost envision hearing this song at a ramshackle bar in West Texas while your friends all tap their foot and toast around you. The sing-along finale is super catchy and it sounds like the band had a great time in Studio 1311 making music magic with the swaying accordion. “Daddy He Don’t Care” rips with a fiddle weaving poetically like Hoe’s words capturing that honky-tonk jive. Tommy Hoe with his band The Barncats will keep everyone swinging with this one when live music returns. The next track “Dealing Feelings” reminds one of listening to a Hank Williams record and again has an excellent mix with a sparkle of piano brightening the mood. Again the lyrics don’t disappoint, “See I’ve got so many feelings, that I bury deep inside, That I never, really ever shared before, but if your hearts would like to listen, baby give us one more try, come on back and you will find an open door.” You can bet this listener and many others will be back for more of Hoe’s great songwriting skills. “Nobody’s Children” mood is captured so well with a lingering cello shedding light on the difficulties of being part of a family and raising one as well. This ballad also has some great fingerpicking from Producer Brian Kors and one can see how he has been affected by the longtime friendship with Hoe. The only cover on the album is an Arlen/Mercer tune called “One For My Baby” and the smooth organ and saxophone lines interweave with a steady backline and Hoe’s voice again moving like a piece of country/jazz as Willie Nelson also perfected. The final track is a spoken word poem entitled “Devils Playground” with some haunting organ chosen so well by Hoe and Kors. The poem is amazing and captures Dylan’s writing styles of “Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie” mixed with Hoe’s life experiences as a cowboy traversing America. This is a true gem. In all the record works amazingly well and each song holds its own strengths. Masterfully produced and one of the great surprises of 2020.