Another popular act returning for the 11th Cherokee Jazz & Blues Festival is Erick Hovey. Hovey will be performing on Friday, Jan. 7 at the Cherokee Bowl from 9 p.m. to midnight and again on Saturday, Jan 8 at The Gathering Place from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Erick Hovey is a songwriter, guitarist, singer, and fifth-generation farmer from Fort Dodge. His music has gained critical acclaim for the deep, expressive feel of his unique style. Erick's songs are seasoned with blues, jazz, funk, and folk fusion.
Radio and press around the world are calling Erick's new releases "Blues Farm" and "Recycled Souls" fresh and original. He's about fat grooves and rhythmic patterns, strong vocals, meaningful lyrics, and a tight backing band. Real Blues Magazine pronounced Blues Farm among the top 100 new releases for 2009.
His earlier albums are "What You Blue About?" and "Prairie Dance Music." What You Blue About? was a Catfish Choice of Blue's Access magazine. Of Prairie Dance Music, Delta Snake Daily Blues wrote that "Erick Hovey is a hidden blues gem in the farmland of the Midwest."
Erick learned the blues scale when he was 10 years old and began performing in local taverns when he was 14. He still enjoys playing in small-town bars but has performed in venues and festivals throughout the Midwest.
Be creative and break rules. These are the words of Erick Hovey, a blues musician who lends his own unique brand of the blues genre to the Fort Dodge area. Hovey's been playing guitar since he was 10 years old and has been performing publicly since he was 14, playing in more than 30 bands over the years in a wide array of musical genres, including country, pop, rock, funk, and blues.
He said he spends hours every week writing, rehearsing, jamming, recording, and performing. He's released four albums: "Prairie Dance Music", "What You Blue About?", and for 2009, "Blues Farm" and "Recycled Souls."
He's also enjoyed playing on many of his friends' recordings. "It would seem like a full-time job if it weren't so fun", said Hovey. The work schedule is fairly compatible with the music activities, he said. "Spring and fall present some challenges, so I have learned to scale back on the music during the planting and harvest seasons." It all started when Hovey was 10 and his parents started taking guitar lessons. They encouraged him to give it a try. "Before that, I used to beat out sounds on an old upright piano and imagine I was making music," he said. He was influenced by the counter-culture music being played on the radio then.
"I used to listen to a radio show at night called Beaker Street. It was hosted by a DJ named Clyde Clifford on KAAY out of Little Rock, Ark.," said Hovey. "Rather than featuring top 40, Clifford's show featured the creative end of what was going on then musically. That's where I first heard blues-based music that was considered counter-culture at the time, like Clapton, Floyd, and Zeppelin."
That blues-based music had a hold on Hovey early on, and it has taken him a long way from beating on the old upright. "Blues has an interesting combination of discipline and freedom. You have some structure in the rhythm and chord changes that lay down the groove or feel, then you have a lot of improvisation over that," he said. "The blues is at the root of so many styles of music."
Hovey is doing what he loves. His band, the Erick Hovey Band, is comprised of Hovey on guitar, Jeff Foreman on drums, Doug Hines on keys and Dan Lodden on bass.
The venues for the popular Pub Crawls scheduled for Friday and Saturday nights are as follows:
*Friday, Jan. 7
The Northwest Iowa Musicians will appear at The Copper Cup from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Dr. David Klee & The Jazz Express will perform at The Spice Rack from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Jimmy Davis & Friends will be at The Gathering Place from 9 p.m. to midnight.
David Zollo & The Body Electric will be at The Other Place from 9 p.m. to midnight.
Bob Dorr & The Blue Band will be at VFW Club from 9 p.m. to midnight.
Erick Hovey Band will be performing at the Cherokee Bowl from 9 p.m. to midnight.
*Saturday, Jan. 8
Levee Town will be hosting the Saturday Jam Session at The Gathering Place from noon to 3 p.m.
Youth Talent Showcase, a talent showcase of young musicians in the area, will be held at The Spice Rack from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Levee Town and opening act Adam Schroeder Quartet will play from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Festival's Main Concert at Western Iowa Tech Community College Conference Center.
Erick Hovey Band will be at The Gathering Place from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Mary Bridget Davies Band will be at The Other Place from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
David Zollo & The Body Electric will be at the VFW Club from 10 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Bob Dorr and Blue Band will be performing at Cherokee Bowl from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
The Sunday afternoon concert will feature the Gospel Music of Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church Choir of Sioux City and will be held at Cherokee's St. Paul's United Methodist Church from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
The popular Student Music Clinic for invited area schools conducted by the Jim Oatts Sextet will be held at the Cherokee Middle School Friday, Jan. 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For more information on the Cherokee Jazz and Blues Festival go to the web site at www.cherokeejazzbluesfestival.