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“Highway 101” by Greg Hoy

Big guitars and even bigger harmonies are rolling out of the silence like burning rubber hitting the pavement in the Cali homage track “Highway 101” by Greg Hoy, and although the instrumental componentry in this song is quite alluring, it’s the homespun vocal we get from Hoy himself that feels like the centerpiece of this release. In both the stripped-down music video and the song itself, his voice is the bread and butter of this performance, and arguably the most expressive you’re going to find on his new EP, Cacophony 2. He’s been on a hot streak the past two years, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing on “Highway 101.” 

This is one of the smoothest rhythms I’ve heard in a Greg Hoy track to date, but I wouldn’t say that it’s leaving the melodic element here in arrested development – contrarily, I think we needed a relaxed tempo in this piece to appreciate the wonderment of the harmony Greg Hoy is creating. This was made as a road trip single, and I can tell even without testing it out that “Highway 101” would partner up with the source of its inspiration like few other new pop songs could this September. 

The harmonies in this track tell us even more about the mood Hoy was looking to produce than the actual lyrics do, which is no small statement to make given the imagistic nature of every verse here. He isn’t concealing his emotions with metaphorical jargon or pop culture allusions best suited to an early-90s Tarantino movie, but instead getting us immersed in the vibe of the California coastline through a system of melodic, rhythmic, and lyrical charismas that all center on his presence in the master mix. There’s no debating whether or not he makes or breaks this performance – for all intents and purposes, Greg Hoy is the bold cacophony he refers to in the title of his last two EPs. 

In this singer/songwriter, we have one of the best alternative rockers currently active in the American underground today, and in his new single “Highway 101,” we hear another instance of him cutting loose with a melody at precisely the moment we need to hear it most. There’s a lot of classic rock energy in this piece, but more than this, there’s a degree of passion I just don’t hear out of a lot of pop/rock right now. Hoy is a master of his craft, and this track reminds us that every chance it gets. 

Mindy McCall



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