- Troy Gonyea is an emerging American artist who is a musical descendant of the original Blues lineage. While still a teenager, based out of Massachusetts, Troy played alongside members of Muddy Waters' fabled band.
His 25-year remarkable musical journey as a distinguished guitarist/sideman earned him the inheritance of deep Blues roots. From these experiences, Troy has emerged as an outstanding solo artist. Today as a bandleader, guitarist, singer and songwriter Troy has his own vision of where Blues can exist in our contemporary world.
“Troy has his own way of expressing himself. Listening to him playing a slow-blues song I was able to hear the whole history of The Blues. The music Troy expresses is the true Blues. With Troy, the true Blues is in goods hands for the future. He'll be around for a long time.”
– Ronnie Earl, May 2019
- Troy's sound is captivating, stellar, fresh and brilliant. His thrilling and inventive guitar work layered with howling soulful vocals stands in the heritage of mid-20th century American music yet Troy's music and energy is thoroughly of today - new and modern.
“Troy Gonyea is first and foremost his own man. 'Click Click Spark' shows the influence of every minute of Troy’s remarkable musical journey, but it’s not blues, it’s not rock and roll, it’s not “roots music.” It’s all of those things—because it’s Troy Gonyea music.”
– Kim Field, author of Harmonicas, Harps, and Heavy Breathers
“Most of what we remember of Troy's work was his prominent and studied guitar. What is most obvious here is the convincing authority of his voice.”
– Art Tipaldi, Blues Music Magazine, Spring 2019
- The experience of Troy's live show is electrifying. Creating music in the moment, these world-class musicians thrive on the exciting interplay of improvisation.
“For the music I like and the music I love to play, it is improvisational. You get that magic element when you're playing live and playing spontaneously. The right musicians can add to that improvisational moment and follow it. It's good to be in a heightened state of awareness. Every time I hit the stage, no matter where it is, a small club or a huge festival stage, I try to perform the same way with the same mentality. I put in a serious amount of work to get better every time. Each time I make music I want to be better than I was the last time. We shoot for being an exciting and inventive live act and that off-the-cuff style is what I enjoy. I believe every time we play is a damn good performance and what you hear on my new live album, “Click Click Spark,” is what we do. It is unaltered; I did not change or 'fix' anything.”
- Troy Gonyea, 2019
"You can feel the spirit of Magic Sam and Peter Green but Troy has his own way of expressing himself.
Troy is a beautiful singer and master guitar player who in the short time of listening to him playing a slow-blues song I was able to hear the whole history of The Blues.
I feel that the music Troy expresses is the true Blues. With Troy, the true Blues is in goods hands for the future.
He is a dignified person and artist and I love him and his music.
He'll be around for a long time. Love, Ronnie"
-Ronnie Earl, May 2019
Blues Music Magazine
Spring 2019 Issue 21
Album review by Art Tipaldi, Editor In Chief
Click Click Spark
Part aggressive Fabulous Thunderbirds guitar, part Westside Chicago soul, part Steve Cropper, part Black Crowes, part Howl best describes the long-awaited recording by inventive guitarist Troy Gonyea. Since his guitar residency with Kim Wilson on both the Blues Band and The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Gonyea has been both a successful independent recording artist and also an in-demand guitar for hire in bands like Sugar Ray and The Bluetones or Anthony Geraci's Boston Blues All Stars. In addition, Gonyea delivers his musical vision at his weekly gigs in Worcester, MA. In between, he traveled for two years backing Booker T.
All those experiences prompted Gonyea to release his nine-song vision of where Blues can exist in our contemporary world. Though he was a committed blues guitarist ever since he picked his first note at age 13, Gonyea's love was always the Chicago blues from the 1950s that featured Jimmy Rogers, Muddy Waters, and Dave and Louis Myers. Then the ferocious voices of Otis Rush and Magic Sam blindsided Gonyea. "There's something about that Chicago blues of that period, it's so mean and raw that it still stands up today. It wasn't polite music. It was the alternative rock of its day."
Gonyea honors all that he has taken in by recording tunes by Magic Sam, Willie Dixon, Jimmy McCracklin, Duster Bennett, he traditional "Tell Heaven," and four originals. What stands out in each song is the combination of Gonyea's resounding guitar complemented by his aching voice. Most of what we remember of Gonyea's work was his prominent and studied guitar. What is most obvious here is the convincing authority of Gonyea's voice. To fully appreciate that maturity, check out his tortured pleading in Magic Sam's "That's Why I'm Crying," Bennett's "Jumping At Shadows," and "Tell Heaven."
Gonyea shows off his harmonica talents on "Bring It On Home," his rock and roll sensibilities on "(Do The) Curl Up And Die," and the testifyin' lessons he learned from Booker T on "As I Am." The CD ends with Gonyea's continued reverence for the power of Magic Sam on "I Am Feeling So Good (Owed T' Don)." Here Gonyea marries Sam's "Feel So Good" boogie with his personal story tellin'. Backed by a crack band of Brooks Milgate (keys), Marty Ballou (bass) and Marty Richards (drums), Gonyea recorded this set live to better capture the band's work in this unaltered format to capture a moment of exciting interplay.
“I wanted to be a guitar player even before I had a guitar. I remember it pretty distinctly that I when I was about 12 I already knew I was going to be a guitarist. I listened to a lot of Howlin Wolf and Jimi Hendrix at that age. That sound and tone - they were mind-blowing endorsements for wanting to play electric guitar. I was lucky enough to know what I wanted to be that early in life.” - Troy Gonyea 2019
“Troy has a ridiculous command over any music that he is interested in playing. The intriguing thing about his playing is that he never plays a song the same way twice. He has flawless execution, is never stale and always improvising.
He has an encyclopedic knowledge of Blues and he's played with some of the greats but his non-traditional approach has a thrilling element of danger. He takes chances and is fresh and new at each show forcing himself to push the boundaries of his own playing.” - A long-time fan, 2018
If music matters as art
Excerpt of an essay by Mike Carroll, a long-time fan, 2018
By music I mean American blues, jazz, rock and roll, country, and soul music — and the collision of those styles as bolts of vital freight and expression born of the American city of the middle 20th century. Their roots, metallic grafts, and supreme and always shifting amalgams stand for me as a cosmic oddity — a clear jewel of genius and humanity. Troy Gonyea stands in this heritage, with strapped Gibson guitar and howling soul ranging voice. When his outright expression of it - through its earth drilling, swamp wading, and electric moon shooting - suddenly arks to blue-white lightening, is outright shamanistic, if you let it be.
The experts will have their say, but it strikes me that the musicians were (and are, through the timeless declaration of rock and roll) embedded in their time. Listening to Troy and his bandmates' dialed in rhythms and transfiguring keyboards invoke and channel the likes of Peter Green, George Jones, Ray Charles, Bo Diddley, Magic Sam, Captain Beefheart, Mercy Baby, Lazy Lester, and Los Lobos with stellar skill, taste, and energy is pure pleasure. This is a common response to living music — the kind where talent and commitment catch fire. Besides getting the blood, mind, and heart revved up in some proportion of import, there is the power of induced reflection. I didn’t know every one of these artists before attending Troy's shows. Discovering them and their original recordings and continuing to see Troy's shows gives me a renewed appreciation and respect for American art in its finest forms: popular and accessible, genius and life affirming.
Some of the musicians Troy has toured/performed with:
- The Muddy Waters' Blues Band: Pinetop Perkins, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Calvin “Fuzz” Jones (tour)
- The Fabulous Thunderbirds (tour)
- Booker T Jones (tour)
- Kim Wilson's Blues Band (tour)
- Jerry Portnoy (tour)
- Sugar Ray and The Bluetones (tour)
- James Harmon (tour)
- David Maxwell (tour)
- Junior Watson (tour)
- Larry Taylor (of Tom Waites, Canned Heat) (tour)
- Richard Innes (tour)
- Anthony Geraci and the Boston Blues All-Stars (tour)
- Paul Rishelle & Annie Raines (tour)
- Mavis Staples
- Hubert Sumlin (of Howlin Wolf)
- Buddy Guy
- Dave Hidalgo (of Los Lobos)
- Billy Boy Arnold
- Marc Ford (of The Black Crows, Ben Harper)
- Charlie Musselwhite
- Dennis Brennan
- Kirk Fletcher
- Michael 'Mudcat' Ward
- Gene Taylor (of The Blasters)
- Duke Robillard
- Johnny Tucker
- Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson
- Paul Oscher
- Phil Guy
- Louisanna Red
- Dave Myers (of Little Walter)
Some of Troy's more prestigious performances:
- Harvard University's music appreciation with Charles M. Sawyer Jr. (David Maxwell, Sugar Ray and the Bluetones)
- The B.B. King Tour (The Fabulous Thunderbirds)
- Kentucky Derby (The Fabulous Thunderbirds)
- The Cambridge Folk Festival (Booker T Jones)
- Mountain Stage, radio and TV (Kim Wilson's Blues)
- Ottawa Blues Festival (David Maxwell)
- The Blues Music Awards (Kim Wilson)
- Japan’s Fuji Rock Fest (Booker T Jones)
- King Biscuit Blues Festival (James Harman)
- Boston Music Awards (Troy Gonyea)
- Lucerne Blues Festival (The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Anthony Geraci and The Boston Blues All-Stars, Johnny Tucker)
Some of the musicians Troy has recorded with:
- Kim Wilson
- The Fabulous Thunderbirds
- Jerry Portnoy
- David Maxwell
- Anthony Geraci and the Boston Blues All-Stars
- Greg “Fingers” Taylor
- Chicago Bob
- Paul Rishelle & Annie Raines
Some recognition Troy has received:
- Guitarist on two Kim Wilson recordings which received
two Grammy Nominations for Best Traditional Blues Album (2001, 2003)
- Bandleader, guitarist, singer and songwriter -
Boston Music Awards nominee for Best Band (2010)
- Guitarist with Anthony Geraci and The Boston Blues All-Stars
Blues Music Award nominee for Best Band Of The Year (2019)