The Hoax:

Hugh Coltman: vocals, harp
Jon Amor: guitar (the dark guy)
Jess(e) Davey: guitar (the hat/beret guy)
Robin Davey: bass
Mark Barrett: drums
(succeeded Dave Raeburn as drummer prior to 2nd album)
"In 1991 The Hoax exploded onto the British blues scene. With an average age of just 22, their energy and excitement mixed with the musical ability of seasoned pros immediately set them apart from everything else on the live circuit." (Quote from their website).

In 1993 famed blues record producer (BLUE HORIZON veteran) Mike Vernon caught them live on stage, said "They're the most exciting band I've heard for twenty years" and offered them to sign with CODE BLUE (a WARNER label). And so they did next year.

Oct '94 saw the release of their debut album "Sound Like This" (CODE BLUE). It met with vast critical acclaim. It was voted Best Blues Album '95 by the British Blues Connection. And check out the review from U.S. blues magazine "Blues Access" below!

The Hoax as a band was voted Best British Blues Band in '94 - and then for four more years, solidly joining the Gallery of the Greats.
Singer/harpist Hugh Coltman was furthermore chosen Best Male Vocalist in '95.

Two U.S. tours in '95 followed, many concerts opening for U.S. blues ace Buddy Guy. The followup album "Unpossible" (CODE BLUE), featuring new drummer Mark Barrett, was released in '96, outselling the previous one. More touring - and even more touring.

Determinedly looking for independence they left CODE BLUE, forming their own label, CREDIBLE RECORDS. On this label they issued one EP and two full length albums: "Humdinger" (their masterpiece according to some) and "Live Forever" - the second one sadly the band's swan song.

So then, The Hoax Press Release of May 25 '99:
"The Hoax have confirmed rumours that they are to split. The band will play a string of European festival dates this summer and will do a farewell U.K tour in September. They will play their final dates in Europe this October. The bands scheduled live album will be released this September on Credible Records Distributed by Direct."
So what's up now? Solo projects? Some of the guys continuing under another monicker? Stay tuned - and check their web site listed below!

What has happened so far?
In 2000 Jon Amor founded a new band: Amor, starting to tour at the end of Sept. 2000.

Jesse Davey is producing parts of Aynsley Lister's new album "Everything I Need" on RUF RECORDS

Mark Barrett first joined Martin Trimble and Outside Help and then the Nimmo Brothers.
Bizzarely, it seems as if Dave Raeburn has done the same thing, one step behind!

Late in 2001 I hear that The Davey Brothers (Jesse and Robin) have recorded an album under that bandname - in the US. Much bluesier than Amor's outing. Check their website:

"Sound Like This" CODE BLUE (1994)
"Unpossible" CODE BLUE (1996)
"The Night Will Come" CREDIBLE RECORDS EP (1997)
"Humdinger" CREDIBLE RECORDS (1998/9)
"Live Forever" CREDIBLE RECORDS (1999)

The Hoax Home Page

Blues Access © review of their debut album: "Sound Like This"

One listen to Sound Like This, and there's no question that Stevie Ray Vaughan's influence has made its way across the Atlantic. But to call the Hoax a blues band, or even a blues-rock band, would be limiting. At various points along these 11 tracks, this British quintet toys with jazz, swing and even funk.

The album explodes out of the gate with the pounding bass and drum riff of "Lizard Like Me." While the vocals lack some of the balls associated with more hard-core blues wailers, the guitars more than make up the difference by taking a simple but powerful rock riff and working it into a 12-bar pattern. Guitarists Jess Davey and Jon Amor lean heavily on the Vaughan style not only in tone but in phrasing. Unfortunately, things get a little muddy in the last few seconds and drums and guitars escalate into a confused crescendo.

"Much Too Much" is reminiscent of the syncopated R&B groove of vintage Booker T. and the MGs, with plenty of room between verses for rambling guitar solos, while "Wake Me Up" shifts into a fusion of hard rock and swing that can't decide whether it's a blues, rock or country tune. The clichéd lament, "Everybody tells me, `Get a job and cut your hair,'" reeks of rock'n'roll, but Hugh Coltman's harp solo that leads the song out feels more like the blues.

Coltman gets downright mournful on "Swallow My Pride," a much slower, heartbreaking tune about a bluesman who has nothing left to offer his departed woman but his music. Davey and Amor offer plenty of trebly accents between vocal phrases and a healthy, full-bodied solo midway through this 10-minute marathon.

"Twenty Ton Weight" changes pace dramatically with a funky opening rhythm guitar riff. This is the Hoax at its best -- uptempo, crunchy and percussive. The liner notes are never clear as to who is handling lead guitar and when, but suffice it to say that both Davey and Amor exhibit solid chops in this number.

"Headless Chicken" is one of those catchy, almost silly blues rockers that makes no apologies for inane lyrics like "What kind of rooster are you when you can't wake the neighbors up? You got no voice at all when your head's been cut." If there's some deeper meaning here, it takes a back seat to the infectious, snappy rhythm and tight guitar-percussion interplay.

Things get even more interesting and diverse toward the end. "Driving Blind" is a few incidental lyrics tacked onto some guitar work that flirts with jazz rhythmically and melodically. The result sounds something like Steely Dan with a hard guitar edge. "Don't Bust a Valve" follows immediately with a combination of trebly rhythm guitar and a forceful downbeat reminiscent of some of the rhythm-heavy funk of the '70s.

Ironically, these five Englishmen have captured the essence of a broad spectrum of the American pop tradition.

John C. Bruening