Gary Hoey and Eric Gales highlighted the first day of the Dallas International Guitar Festival with Stone Cold Sweat, Bradford/St. Holmes, Samantha Fish, and Terry Katona and Texas Flood.

29-Apr-2016: It’s always exciting to see the various acts scheduled for the Dallas International Guitar Festival. According to their website, the festival is the oldest and largest guitar show in the world to perform on three stages.

The drawback is that fans can only see a fraction of the talent available. There are so many great artists, though, that everyone has an incredible time.

The event highlights started early on Friday afternoon as Stone Cold Sweat played their brand of rock, funk, and blues. Led by legendary disc jockey, Bo Roberts, and the scourge of Plano, Texas, “Rocking” Ricky Burt, they play a style of hidden gems that would be right at home on Bourbon Street. The crowd loved their versions of “Pay Your Dues,” “You Talk Too Much” and fan favorite, “I Heard You Been Laying My Old Lady.”

Catch them as they play to faithful fans around the Dallas area.

Guitarist extraordinaire Gary Hoey always draws a large crowd. His fluid fingering is fun to watch, whether he’s playing rock or blues. He connected with the crowd early, then played “Ghosts Of Yesterday” from his new album Dust And Bones.

Gary played several styles of blues and lots of pure rock and roll. He thrilled the fans as he took them for a ride with long and thrilling solos. He switched to hard-charging rock for “Born Under A Bad Sign” with its Jeff Beck -like extended notes.

Teenage phenom Tallen Lutz joined him onstage for “The Thrill Is Gone” for a tremendous performance. It got better as they ended with “Hocus Pocus” with its frenetic chord changes. He is indeed a master of the fretboard.

Gary is on tour through the end of August.

International blues star Eric Gales was up next, and the overflowing crowd was thrilled to hear him play. Emotion poured out of his soul with his very first song. The blues and the Southern Rock songs he played showed his expressive mannerisms to go along with a guitar sound all his own.

While he has fun performing, it sometimes looks painful as he strains to get every sound imaginable out of his guitar. The instrument almost seems to be an extension of his body. His lightning fast picking at times looked blurry as fans strained to keep up with his fingers.

Eric added a big dose of funk to “Superstition,” making it sound like Jimi Hendrix was singing it. His solo started off like he was picking the banjo, then a hollow string sound, then back to the song. Eric segued into a Jimi solo that had the crowd dancing and yelling. His outpouring of emotions continued with “Little Wing” as he gave it his all. He finished with a Hendrix compilation that turned into a well-received jam session.

See Eric as his current tour continues through October.

Continuing a great start to the weekend, Whitford/St. Holmes, consisting of Derek St. Holmes of the Ted Nugent Band and Brad Whitford of Aerosmith, played a short set. Derek sang “Train,” followed by “Hey Baby” and “Lost Child.”

The audience erupted for “Stranglehold,” as it always moves the crowd. They finished with two songs off their new album, Reunion, released on June 3rd to coincide with the opening of their tour with Whitesnake.

They are touring to promote their new album through the end of July.

On Saturday, Samantha Fish began the day with her blues voice and guitar licks way beyond her 27 years. She was backed by the Danny Franchi Band from Genoa, Italy, who played a few songs of his own. Sadie Johnson joined them and brought a new level of passion to the stage. It was fun to watch the girls with guitars solo, jam, play off each other and complement each other’s playing.

Samantha has established a stage presence that enthralled the crowd. She has progressed by leaps and bounds with each of her three albums.

Samantha has tour dates scheduled through the middle of November. See her play and enjoy the up-and-coming blues star.

Tommy Katona and Texas Flood performed to a full audience. Dallasites know them as the premiere Stevie Ray Vaughan tribute band around and also tremendous blues players. On this day, he played not only SRV songs but also hits by Albert King, B.B. King, and Jimi Hendrix.

Songs such as “Little Sister” and “Cold Shot” wowed the crowd. The band spurred on the audience, played with a precision perfected by working together for so many years. Whether playing an instrumental song or covering one of the great blues players, their cohesion was intact. They finished with a rocking version of “Voodoo Chile” and Jimi’s take on “The National Anthem.”

They play regularly throughout Dallas/Ft. Worth and have several national dates coming up. The band is always worth the price of admission.

The first two days of the Dallas International Guitar Festival provided great music that enthralled the crowds and made many new fans. Getting to hear some favorite performers, as well as new artists, always make for a great weekend of music.

While some of the bands have a new album to promote, many of them are there to have fun, entertain and interact with their fans and try out some new music. Everyone benefits from this and has fun.

There was still a Sunday full of great artists to come. Rock and blues, with a little country thrown in for good measure, would rule the day.

Photos by Joe Guzman.

Gary Hoey
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Eric Gales
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Whitford/St. Holmes
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