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Gary Hoey keeps his Christmas spirit independent

for Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

Trans Siberian Orchestra gets most of the attention as the pre-eminent rock 'n' roll holiday show on the road. But guitar virtuoso Gary Hoey has some pretty good yuletide credentials, too -- three volumes of his "Ho! Ho! Hoey" albums and 16 years of holiday shows that have built their own intensely loyal following.

"I have a lot of connection with (TSO)," says Hoey, 51. "We're definitely aware of each other. But they do their own thing, and it's such a big show, with the lasers and the orchestra and everything. It's a great show, but it's a little more serious than what we do.

"Our thing is more rock 'n' roll and more fun, a little more...down home, maybe. We have a blast."

Hoey -- whose latest album of original material, "Utopia," came out in 2010 -- says he could well have joined TSO at one point, but he's preferred the independent path.

"For some reason, my whole career I've always just been so busy with what I'm doing that I never really want to stop and go do something with somebody else," he explains. "That's probably why I have 17 albums and a solo career.

"I've just always focused on myself -- not so much myself but having a vision of where I'm going with my music. It means a lot to me to leave a legacy behind, a body of work. To just go join a band for a paycheck is not my thing."

Gary Hoey and Jim McCarty & Mystery Train perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, at the City Theater, 2301 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $27. Call 313-471-6611 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.

Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

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