The American Dave Hogan is a seasoned
musician in his heart and to his core.  His
search through a wide range of styles
including folk, hard rock, bluegrass, country
and blues has given him a wealth of musical material.  In
recent years, the singer and guitarist from Stratford, Connecticut
has been active with his band Graylight Campfire, however we're
discussing Hogan's solo project,
Fun Box.  This time machine
turns the clock back forty years to the era of the untitled debut
album by Crazy Horse.  Hogan was inspired by it, as it's one of
his favorite records.  

The album
Fun Box spent overtime in my CD player as the rain
pattered against my windows these last days. Along with Hogan's
voice, guitar and piano, Graylight Campfire bandmates Dennis
Jackson (drums), Brian O'Callaghan (bass) and some friends
including Jason P. Krug (vocals), Kris Santala (vocals) and Tim
"T-Bone" Stone (keys) on the album draw cheerfully from the alt.
country and Americana keg.

The semi-acoustic
High, Dry & Lonesome, Go Away, Downbound
, and Out in the Open are all strong songs with a prancing
Crazy Horse on his team.  They're infinitely charged with both
authentic and contemporary feeling.

Must an artist reinvent himself each time, or maybe just do what
he does best? I lean back in my chair when I hear for the
umpteenth time the familiar and elegant sounds of
Next Time
, World's Oldest Question (want to be singin' the blues?)
Please Come Home.  And you know how that is? By the
conviction and the charm brought by this incredible album by
Dave Hogan."
John Schoenmakers
Keep To Movin',the latest offering by the
Rock/Americana/Alt. Country group
Graylight Campfire. They're ‘straight-up
3 piece rock and/or roll with a little twang
and a positive vibe,’ and quite possibly the finest musical act to
emerge from Fairfield County.

Graylight Campfire, "the super-delegates of rock n roll,” is made
up of former Rafter Bats, Dave Hogan on guitar/vocals and Brian
O'Callaghan on bass/vocals, and Pete May on drums. Dave and
Brian also perform as an acoustic duo.

Keep To Movin' is the Stratford, CT band's follow-up to 2008's All
Are Welcome Some May Stay
, and there's no sophomore slump
here.  The album kicks off with the warm and welcoming “Hello
Old Friend,” a country rocker that'll have the listener tapping their
toes and singing along on the chorus.  The toe-tappin' quickly
turns to foot-stompin' with the next track, “Start All Over.”  From
there the band continues to explore various musical genres,
from ska to southern tinged rock-n-blues, and rockers
reminiscent of the Stones or Faces. Their playing has a fresh but
rootsy feel and there's plenty of twang. The vocal harmonies are
also of note. AND these boys can jam. Some of the heavier
moments conjure up images of a Yellow Fever-era Hot Tuna.
Most of all what makes this album a stand out is the songwriting.
Mr. Hogan wrote 5 of the albums tracks, with the remainder
penned by or co-written with Brian O’Callaghan.

On this outing, the trio is augmented by guest musicians Scott
Camara, "T-Bone" Stone, and Dan Tressler on dobro, keyboards,
and fiddle respectively.  I know it's only March, but this IS a top ten
release for 2010.  Buy it.”
    Adam Devalt
Why does the small
state of Connecticut produce so many great country rock bands?
Maybe it's the water! In any case, add
Graylight Campfire to the
illustrious list. Their sophomore effort, "
Keep To Movin',"
sounds like an amalgam of Neil Young, The Marshall Tucker
Band, The Band, The Grateful Dead, and ska.  

The group consists of Dave Hogan (guitar, vocals), Brian
O'Callaghan (bass, vocals), and Pete May (drums) with guests
Scott Camara (dobro), Tim "T-Bone" Stone (keyboards), and
Dan Tressler (fiddle).  Hogan and O'Callaghan write all the
material, either alone or in collaboration.

Graylight Campfire will capture your heart with their down home,
"come as you are" vocals, tunes, and jams.  The CD kicks off
with the gentle country beat of "Hello Old Friend," a song about
two buddies reconnecting after a bitter disagreement.  The
"special guests" shine on this gem.  

The next two songs showcase the band's special blend of
country funk.  In "Start All Over" Dave Hogan provides a series of
alibis for some dastardly deeds.  "Where were you the night they
took young Annie's life?  I was holed up with someone else's
wife."  "Time To Run," featuring the "Casey Jones" beat, finds
O'Callaghan singing of his inability to move.  "It's a crazy
situation but I don't care. Come time to run, I just sit right there."  
"Perfect Day" evokes a "Blue Sky" mood.  "Got me a blue sky.
Got me a sunshine walk.  I hear the birds singing. Seen a
double rainbow fall.  It don't take too much to make a perfect
day.  I want to share it with the world but I don't want to give it
away."  In the country waltz, "Lookin' For a Reason", a working
man tries to find meaning in his grueling life.

But the real treat of this record lies in the up- tempo jam tunes.
Let's start with the two pumped up ska tracks.  "Strange As It
Seems" enumerates the insane and contradictory emotions of
love.  "Ever since I've loved you, my eyes won't see the color
black.  I can't get enough love to roll me over in my sack."  The
album closer, "The Day You Cease," features a jacked-up hook
that powers an angry diatribe.  The band jams the tune out like
crazy.  The power rock of "Summer Wind" will billow your sails.  
"Summer wind will blow on my feet again.  No matter where I go
or where I've been.  It's been a long, long time since I don't
remember when,  Summer wind will blow me home again."

The title cut, "Keep to Movin'" takes that energy and slams into
5th gear.  Think of Marshall Tucker's "24 Hours At a Time."  
"Tires on the road, boots on the stage, sun on the pavement, all
part of the game.  I tell myself got to keep to movin'.  " O'Callagan
slips in a tasteful bass solo and Hogan rips out a merciless
guitar lead powered by the fuel-injected rhythm section of
O'Callaghan and May.

In this day of perfectly computerized, sound-alike, cookie-cutter
radio, Graylight Campfire shines like a beacon in the dark.  So
much energy, so much groove, just so much damn soul!"
The Working
The opener, "Hello Old Friend,"
is a campfire song indeed, an
old-fashioned country tune that
could’ve come out of Nashville back when country music had
heart.  Or like something The Band would’ve jammed on in their
Woodstock basement with no care as to whether or not anyone
else would ever hear it.  

The Band is the typical go-to reference for most of these old-
fashioned rootsy-type Americana groups that are once again
back in style (The Felice Brothers, for example), and I’d avoid
using them for comparisons except that it’s so true.  A fiddle and
piano/organ help fill out the sound of the core trio at times, with
happy results.

"Strange as It Seems" is a foray into the straighter pop realm,
with an offbeat, almost ska guitar that would lend itself well to
swaying back and forth. "Keep to Movin’" is reminiscent of Dylan’
s "Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again," with a
Southern rock feel that’s more Mobile than Memphis.
Mike Sembos
                                               In the months before the Daffodil
Festival, music director Rob DeRosa burns the midnight oil,
perfecting his all-Connecticut musical lineup.

Just when DeRosa thought he had the perfect 32-band mixture of
sounds, Dave Hogan came knocking at his door with his
smooth, bluesy sound looking for a spot.  Never the one to turn
away local talent, DeRosa accommodated and made Hogan the
festival's 33rd performer.

"After years of honing the schedule to maximize the amount of
acts in a reasonable time, I had settled on 32 as our best
number," said DeRosa. "This year we celebrate 33 years as a
festival, so I thought I'd add a 33rd performer."

Hogan will act as a roving musician at the festival, performing
two songs on all three stages on the festival's opening day,
Saturday, April 30.

Music has been a part of Hogan's life since he was 12 years old.
He has been playing his own style of rock and roll, blues and folk
for 16 years.

"My musical background is a mix of a lot of different sounds,"
said Hogan, who hails from Stratford. "There's folk, hard rock and
blues thrown all together.  I kind of like to mix it all together, and
what comes out is this Americana sound. Some is a little harder
and some is folksier. There is even some country in there."

Hogan plays mainly originals with his group Graylight Campfire.
He throws a few covers into his sets, but tries to stay true to his
own creative juices.

Hogan is a seven-year veteran of Gathering of the Vibes, an
annual summer music festival in Bridgeport. The performances
have made him right at home when performing to outdoor crowd.

"Outdoor shows are great," Hogan said. "They have their own
energy. You gotta throw it out there a little more because people
tend to spread out a little bit when they are outdoors. If you get a
nice day, you can feel the good vibe. You get the elements
around you and that's really what music is all about."

Though he is most comfortable playing with the breeze blowing
through his rock-star long-brown hair, Hogan will take a gig just
about anywhere for a chance to share his music.

"I got a lot of gigs popping up all over the place, both big and
small," Hogan said. "Wherever I can get a gig I'll be playing. We
play the opening gig at Stratford Little League and play at pig
roasts and parities. Big gigs, small gigs, indoor or outdoor, I just
wanna play as much as possible."
 Stephanie O’Connell
                                                      Guitarist and songwriter Dave
                                                      Hogan has a broad background
                                                      in music to his credit, with
                                                      groups such as Red One, The
Great Upsetters and The Rafter Bats, probably all completely
unknown to European music fans.  In 2006, this musician from
Bridgeport, Connecticut branched out as a solo artist, and
ventured into the Americana and genre.

With his backing group "Graylight Campfire, 2008 and 2010 saw
the release of two albums, to only moderate success.  Quitting
isn't in Dave's vocabulary, so he gathered some musical friends
around him in the studio to record his new solo album,
Fun Box.  
Ten original compositions were given a place on this record,
most notably easy-listening Americana songs.  

Opener "Time Can Change," "High, Dry & Lonesome" and "Next
Time Around" offer a good swinging pace, reminiscent of Neil
Young & Crazy Horse, a group that Dave Hogan himself claims as
his main source of inspiration.

The acoustic Neil Young (or was it our own
Admiral Freebee) was
probably in Dave Hogan's mind when he wrote "Out In The Open",
the closing number of this record.  A few more  tracks worth
looking at, slower tempo country songs "World's Oldest Question"
and "Please Come Home," followed by the frenzied, turbo-
charged "Downbound Train," in what we can we say is rock and
roll in its purest form.

It goes without saying that Dave Hogan and his friends had a lot
of fun recording this album, and that good time radiates entirely in
the quality of the ten songs that shine on this beautiful album.  

Valère Sampermans
A Bridgeport, Connecticut-based songwriter,
vocalist and guitarist, Dave Hogan is a veteran
of three critically-acclaimed groups:  Red One,
The Great Upsetters, and The Rafter Bats.  
He’s been a musician for most of his life, having collaborated
with a large number of musicians through the years.  His solo
career started in 2006, and “Fun Box is his current full-length
release, featuring 10 tracks.

Dave successfully handles multiple genres.  His musical style
ranges from Americana and alt. country tendencies, to 70′s rock
and acoustic, with some additional elements in between as well
to tell a complete story.   His vocal interpretation is extremely
convincing.  It possesses a fresh energy; a very personal and
enthusiastic view.  What is also important to say, all of his 10
songs are accessible yet refined, thus should satisfy even the
average listener’s ear.

In some aspects his work reminds me of James Taylor, but the
album itself presents its own personality.  Dave as a songwriter
has shown enough of his own “tricks” and catchy melodies that
offer an original portrayal of his musical heritage.

“Fun Box” as an album satisfies in every regard, and I
recommend it particularly for old school and 70′s music fans.

Branimir Lokner
Friday night we decided to travel way out of our comfort
zone to check out Graylight Campfire at Ray Kelly’s in
the Black Rock section of Bridgeport.  And I am so glad
we did!  Not only is it a pretty cool place to see a band
(and just right for GC), but pretty easy to get to for out-of-towners.  
Graylight ripped up the place with a combination of Graylight
tunes – old and some new material (yay!), some solo Dave
Hogan, and a few covers thrown in, including an awesome
“Bertha”.  Well worth the trip!
Lisa Sanchez-Gonzalez
Dave Hogan hit the stage showcasing his great guitar
playing and wonderful songwriting.  Dave plays in many
local bands in the Fairfield County area and has also
just released a new CD,
Fun Box. I do believe he may
be in the running for the hardest working musician in Connecticut
right now. You can check his site for his very full schedule of
shows and catch him either solo, with his electric trio Graylight
Campfire, sitting in with The Grimm Generation at one of their
shows, or with The Mill Valley Taters.
Aim D’Amaro
Having become familiar with Dave
Hogan through his session work
with Windsor, CT-based The Grimm
Generation, it was no surprise that Hogan’s ultra-rootsy,
Americana-influenced solo work would be so confident, strident
and decidedly ear-candy for a destitute, world-weary soul. Hogan’
s songwriting and musical style bear resemblance to some
contemporary titans of the same genre: Hayes Carl, Justin
Townes Earl and the now pre-historic Uncle Tupelo.

Working within the same musical landscape — Hogan’s
articulate, gritty, lyrically savvy tales of errant lovers and personal
failures make for a heady brew of buoyant tunes.

The opening track, “Time Can Change,” is reminiscent of Uncle
Tupelo’s nascent forays into the burgeoning early 90’s re-
examination of Gram Parson’s country rock playground, but
rather bit middle of the road. Hogan channel’s Uncle Tupelo’s
Jay Farrar’s vocal mid-range so successfully at times, that it’s
hard to distinguish the two.

While a bit maudlin, “Go Away,” conjures up a certain Pure
Prairie League vibe, (which isn’t such a bad thing in world of
crappy music — how often do you turn off “Aimee” these days
while listening to terrestrial radio?).

The standout track, “Downbound Train,” is a chugging country-
punk tune, brimming with youthful optimism and a cocky
resoluteness as Hogan practically shouts, “I am Orpheus,
natural born son,” and declare he’s a  “different man made for
different times,” raising the specter of the legendary Greek’s
divine music which was rejected by his contemporaries.

While it’s impossible to please every musical purist, Dave
Hogan, is certainly a major player in the new breed of regional
Americana. He hasn’t carved out a decidedly Connecticut sound
(if that is possible), but he’s created the foundation by which
others can certainly follow his lead.
Vincent Bator
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