Sly Fox and the Hustlers
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Sly Fox and the Hustlers

Albany, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | INDIE

Albany, New York, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2010
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"Sly Fox and the Hustlers is on the move with a new CD and tour"

A message flashed across my iPhone one evening.

“Heard u did a thing with Sly. Good guy.”

It was Bryan Lasky, a photographer whose work is omnipresent in the local music scene. Any picture of a band who calls the Capital District home likely has his stylized BDL watermark on it. He’s in front of the stage for more than 100 shows a year and is often hired to take promotional shots. He’s tasked with capturing the character and spirit of each musician that crosses his lens. The “good guy” comment was in reference to Sly Fox. Coming from Bryan, it carries weight.

Photo by Bryan Lasky.

Of course that’s not his real name, but call Fox by what’s on his birth certificate and he’ll think he’s in trouble.

“Nobody knows me as Gary,” said the local promoter and frontman of Sly Fox and the Hustlers. “Except my mom. My mom and the cops. That’s what I always say, are the only ones who call me Gary.”

So, everyone sticks to calling him Sly. Something about the name adds to a presence that leads people into believing he’s not from around here. It’s not out of intimidation that keeps people from calling him Gary. Though, the long hair, thick beard and dark sunglasses could play a factor in someone’s first impression. That impression often segues to the oft-asked question, “where ya from?” The band’s soulful sound of blues rock has a Southern feel to it. Because of which, Fox said it’s common for people to think he’s some sort of wayward carpetbagger who traveled north of the Mason-Dixon line here to Albany.

“I do get that all the time,” said Fox. “I don’t know. I guess that’s what I gravitate towards. But, people think that all the time. They ask me when I moved here.” Seven years after dropping “The Low-life,” featuring “Rough Patch of Road,” he still seems confused by it. “I don’t have an accent or anything.”

Not for nothing Fox carries the respect of the people who make up the local music scene. He helps shape that scene, having a hand in booking music acts at the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Troy and the Putnam Den in Saratoga Springs, each of which a magnet for the best area talent. “The Dino,” and its waterfront property on the banks of the Hudson, has a long-standing history that dates back to its Castaways days of the ‘90s. The Putnam Den, nestled off Broadway on Saratoga Spring’s Putnam Street, continuously draws bands with regional pull through its doors. That’s with Fox’s help.

Photo by Bryan Lasky

“He seems to always know about the newest bands on the scene,” said Melanie Krahmer of SIRSY. “He’s ready to listen and help them grow. He’s a huge asset to our local scene.”

This past summer, SIRSY played at Troy’s annual concert series Rockin’ on the River. The powerhouse duo of Melanie Krahmer and Richard Libutti shared the summer evening with Sly Fox and the Hustlers. Krahmer said she and Libutti “love Sly as a person.”

“We love Sly as a person, as a musician, as a sound guy and as a music booker,” said Krahmer. “It’s rare that someone can do all those things well — but, he can…. He’s also a really kind and decent human.

And, [you] can quote me on all of that.”

Fox is in the middle of making arrangements to the Putnam Den when his cell phone rings. Scheduling conflicts have him looking for a sound guy to step in for a big show. He’s booked shows there for two years, but the venue only just finished an overhaul. A larger stage was installed and a new sound system was put into place. He’s getting things set to host Particle + Lespecial. He anticipates a couple of hundred people through the door. A quick introduction from the other end of the phone is followed by a friendly, “what’s up, brother?” And the impromptu interview begins.

Photo by Bryan Lasky

“When I was in second grade, the teacher told my parents that she was sure I was going to end up being a poet,” said Fox. “But, I’ve always been a big lyric guy.” It’s a love he attributes to time spent reading the jacket covers off of his CDs, diving back through the messages of who the band thanked for influencing them. Traveling back to the 60s and 70s. He and Sean Rowe picked up on the blues and names no one head on the radio.

“In reading stories about those bands, they were always mentioning Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson,” said Fox. Then, once I got into that stuff, I felt like I went as far back as I could go. That stuff… it’s hard to describe it, but it kind of speaks into your soul. It’s timeless. That old blues and stuff is heartfelt.”

“Been down a rough patch of road.
All the lies I’ve told.

Been down a rough patch of road.

All the things I’ve stole.

Been down a rough patch of road.

Fingerprinted. Interrogated.

Never ratted, ‘cause that’s the code.

Been down a rough patch of road.”

— Rough Patch of Road
The Low Life

Fox turns the tables on the interview. He genuinely asks what bands the reporter is into, which starts a meandering road of memories shared over one-cent mail order CDs through Columbia House, jacket notes off of “Born in the U.S.A. and a funk band out of Boston’s Berklee College called Lettuce. The interview’s now a conversation between music lovers.

On top of the work he has before him that day, Fox and his band are preparing to hit the road this month for a tour that launches from Troy and takes them through the Northeast with stops in New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Burlington and Buffalo. Then, the band hits points they’ve never been, down in the South to Memphis and Nashville. The band also has a new album queued for release, a free fan album featuring a live performance captured from The Egg. A wholly new studio album is already in the works, and should be recorded next January.

Photo by Bryan Lasky

“We’ve been lucky enough, we’ve played at The Egg for the last four summers,” said Fox. When the band last played there earlier this year, the staff already had the soundboard calibrated based off their previous shows. “We’ve got some really good recording from a sold out show we did there with Kenny Wayne Shepherd. It came out fantastic, so we decided to release it.”

Another reason the band decided to release the live CD was to express their gratitude towards the staff at The Egg.

“What you hear up front is never what you hear on stage,” said Fox. “But [at The Egg], on stage, you hear the room because of the shape of it. It’s the best sound, ever, versus anywhere else. … The guys that run it there are perfect at what they do, and the design of the room. Another reason why we wanted to release it was because we have such a good relationship there with the staff. The way it sounds there is so amazing.”

“Live at The Egg” will be free and available online through the band’s website, iTunes and more during the first week of November.

Dustin Alexander is on the road when his phone buzzes alive. The Saratoga Springs native is on his way to a hike when a message across his screen asks for his thoughts on Sly Fox. Alexander’s Jesus Christ and the Hallucinogenic Allstars once took residency at the Putnam Den. He still takes the stage there with his current band, Angels on the Fourth.

“I respect that dude a lot.” - Spotlight News


"Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band At The Egg"

"...Sly Fox and The Hustlers warmed up the receptive crowd before Kenny arrived. They are local to Albany and have their own album out. We heard some originals and they also did some covers, like most blues bands. I thought they were exceptional. The crowd did as well and gave them a good send off before the lights came back on for a short break..." - Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck


"DROME SOUND MUSICIAN SPOTLIGHT: Sly Fox and the Hustlers"

TheSpot518: For someone who is just being introduced to your band, how would you describe your sound, and your live shows?

Sly Fox and the Hustlers: We are a Rock ‘n’ Roll band best described as Heavy Voodoo Blues over Swampy Funky Grooves with a powerful high energy live show with lots of audience interaction.

TheSpot518: The Capital District has a great music scene — what’s your favorite venue to play, and why?

Sly Fox and the Hustlers: The Egg – the sound is amazing and the staff is top notch, but I do have my eye on The Palace – that’s a big goal of mine, its my favorite place to experience live shows, I love those old theatres that almost every major city seems to have.

TheSpot518: Other than that, what would you say the Capital District offers best for music fans?

Sly Fox and the Hustlers: High quality variety. We have an amazing music scene here, there are so many great players in so many different genres we really have all the bases covered, whatever you’re in the mood for – rock, blues, jam, funk, R&B ect -we have it all!. We are blessed with a great loyal base of music fans that come out to support live music on a regular basis. I’m often aware of great packed shows going on at several different venues on the same night in our market. To people new to the scene I would say listening to songs on the radio or computer is great, but there is nothing like the experience of live music with a good band that’s in the zone.

TheSpot518: What do you hope to see happen within the scene in the next five years?

Sly Fox and the Hustlers: I’m excited to watch it continue to grow, there is a new crop of young players coming up that I’m really excited to see where they go.

TheSpot518: Where do you see your band in that same time period?

Sly Fox and the Hustlers: Our goal is to be touring on a very regular basis, sharing our live show experience with music fans all over the world, to be releasing new material annually including live shows and play in our market at least one big show per year, maybe at The Palace……. - Spotlight News


"Blue Öyster Cult draws fans to Lake George music festival"

“...A couple Doors covers had one Festival patron commenting that Sly Fox could well be Jim Morrison incognito.”

— Festival patron - The Lake George Examiner


"Sly Fox and the Hustlers voted Best Blues Rock Band"

Best Blues-Rock Band

Sly Fox and the Hustlers

These local favorites feature some of the areas best players. Funky, blues soaked and powerful this horn driven outfit is sure to get the party rockin. A throwback to another era, the Capital Region is blessed to have such great talent. - Metroland


"For good measure By Wanda Callagy"

An evening in Clifton park….My thoughts are fresh as I spent the whole evening at the concert. Though I have seen Sly Fox & The Hustlers before, I knew they were thrilled to be opening for Blues Traveler. Moments after I arrived I found a spot that I thought would be easy to move around from.

Sly Fox & the Hustlers came on to stage strong and clear. They are a fun band to watch as they are always moving. Lots of bright lights changing hue...

Walz and Sly no doubt had played together many times before and their sweet licks balanced each other, and Donna added a great solo on a Stones tune. The clear sax and trumpet sounds out the moments in time kept by Mark’s sticks.

Their play list included originals, ’Back in Funk’ and ‘Revolution 2012′ with a Blues Medley by Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. A treat “American Gypsy” from their soon to be released CD and start of their tour finished their set. The only complaint I had is that they weren’t on stage long enough. - Wanda Callagy


"Sly Fox and the Hustlers hustle Valentine’s"

The crowd at Valentine's Music Hall and Beer Joint was funkin' last Friday, when Sly Fox and the Hustlers hosted a Friday Night Party that featured an array of area musicians...

When Sly Fox and the Hustlers assembled to refine the sound check before the set, the crowd was so eager for more that their warm up tune kicked off the gig without even a pause. Sly Fox's raw but controlled vocals noticeably define the band's sound. A big guy with a big presence and the guitar chops to back it up, his playing is some of the most authentic blues-funk-rock in the area, paying homage to Hendrix while maintaining individual style. A studied and practiced player, Fox’s solos are complete and well-structured and his riffs are true to form.

Newest band member Dylan Storm's active low end keeps the tunes moving. There's no sitting still for this guy, and his bass playing adds a modern element to the band's classic sound.

The band is supporting their CD The Low Life recorded in Albany at Warming Room Recording Studio. The radio single 'S.U.N.Y. Girl', a tale of near-desperate co-ed romance set to a soundtrack of jumping guitar, is destined to go viral with the local college audience. While SUNY Girl appeals to the band's good time rock and roll philosophy, it’s 'Rough Patch of Road' that embodies the realist of what Sly Fox and the Hustlers have to offer. It's a dirty and deep, yet relatable, song that's performed with an honesty rarely seen in current music—100% blues and brother, he's feeling it.

As a group, the players pull off a high energy performance and have a great time doing it. A noticeable feature of the Hustlers style is the way they really lay it out. The audience is right there with the band, grooving and sweating and loving and crying, it's what a small-venue live music performance should be—intimate, absorbing, real and fun.

The crowd at Valentine's was drankin’ plenty and funkin’ heavy—a party worthy of Friday night...

Don't miss out the next time the Hustlers are hustlin'. Sly Fox and the Hustlers have love to give. Give ‘em some love right back when you check them out in town again at on April 20th at The Dublin Underground for a free show sponsored by Capital Underground Radio. - Albany Local Music Examiner


"Fresh Tracks in the 518 CD Review"

‘The Low-Life’

Sly Fox and the Hustlers play meat-and-potatoes rock ’n’ roll with plenty of guitars, but there are whispers of classic New York punk rock lurking in the band’s sound as well.

Here and there the glam and grimace of the New York Dolls peeks out — especially in the edgy sax of “Leave Me Alone” — and elsewhere there’s a whiff of Mink Deville (albeit amped to the max).
The septet’s debut album “The Low-Life” is punchy, strutting, aggressive and soulful.

“S.U.N.Y. Girl” is mundane but cute, and will tickle anyone who’s attended just about any state school; “Rough Patch of Road” makes good on leader Fox’s promise of “voodoo blues,” and “Red Dress,” co-written with Sean Rowe, is thick with groove.

Sly Fox has quickly become a presence on the live scene and “The Low-Life” is a solid taste of what to expect from this powerful combo. - The Times Union - Albany NY


"Sly Fox to showcase at River Street Festival"

“You know how they say marijuana is a gateway drug? I think ‘S.U.N.Y. Girl’ is our gateway song.” Sly Fox chuckles knowingly. He is living up to his moniker with this funky blues number recorded by his band The Hustlers. The catchy song mentions every SUNY location from New Paltz to Buffalo, categorizing Sly’s female student ideal as “the hottest thing I’ve ever seen.”

This local hit is getting airplay on WEQX and WEXT with its — well — Sly Fox come-on: “Well you tasted sweet like honey, had a belly button ring/And the subtle scent of rose upon your skin/So if you’re listening to the radio and you hear this song/Look me up at slyfoxandthehustlerss.com.” Its success also earned Sly Fox and The Hustlers the number two slot at Saturday’s Troy River Street Festival local stage right behind headliner the Joe Mele Blues Band.

Sly is not surprised by his song’s success. “I can’t lie. It even came into play in the writing of it that it felt like this could be a regional hit just ’cause I’m mentioning (all the S.U.N.Y) cities.” The idea to localize a song was one of many given by Jeanne French in a list to Sly and his childhood friend and musical co-conspirator Sean Rowe when they were 16 living on Christie St. near Prospect Park.

French, at the time fronting one of the hottest bands in the market, Blue Jeanne Blue, wrote out the list that Sly still has. She told the youngster, “This is what you want to do if you want to do this for a living.” The advice included everything from what has to be in the biography to coaxing reviewers like Don Wilcock into writing about him.

The hottest song on The Hustlers’ debut EP 'The Low-Life' is “Rough Patch of Road,” perhaps an autobiographical tale that explains Sly’s six years outside of music, with tales of “drugs and cops and judges you know” and lessons learned: “Secret of a long life is knowing when it’s time to go.”

It was the CBGB’s connection that brought Sly back in the game in 2005. He happened to see a photo of Dylan Storm playing the club with his band Graystar. Dylan at 13 was the youngest guitarist to ever play CBGB’s. His band also enjoyed the dubious distinction of having been immortalized as cartoon characters in the animated TV show “Jimmy Neutron.” When Sly commented to Dylan that he’d also played the venerated club and hadn’t picked up a guitar in six years, Dylan gave him one of his own guitars.

The moment changed Sly’s life. “It was like seeing somebody that you cared about that you hadn’t seen in a long time.” Flash forward to 2011, and you find Dylan Storm is the newest member of Sly Fox and The Hustlers.

For all the would-be rock star names, the novelty song hit “S.U.N.Y Girl,” and scatological obsessions of their image and songs, Sly Fox and The Hustlers is as hot creatively as they are as a novelty.

Sly’s first concert experience was Motley Crue at the RPI Fieldhouse in 1987, but that led to his exploration back to those who influenced that heavy metal band including Aerosmith, the Stones, Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson.

While the music on 'The Low Life' EP is sometimes dense and definitely heavy metal-influenced, there is a lot going on in these seven-piece arrangements. Sly is quick to point out he lets everyone in the band solo, and the total effect is one that overcomes the clichés of testosterone-laden rock overdose to produce some sounds that percolate at a high heat and do justice to a band that covers three generations and pays homage to almost 70 years of rock and blues history. - The Troy Record


Discography

Live at the Egg -        2017

American Gypsy -     2016

The Low Life           2010

Photos

Bio

“Heavy Voodoo Blues over Swampy Funky Grooves!” And “an exciting show not to be missed.” 

That’s what the press has to say about Sly Fox and the Hustlers. And they prove it every time they take the stage. High energy live shows and songs performed with passion by their dynamic frontman Sly Fox have helped the band to build a buzz throughout the Northeast. 

John Popper of Blues Traveler called Sly Fox and the Hustlers "one of the best bands I've seen in a long time!" The band has shared stages with Popper’s Blues Traveler, Robin Trower and Kenny Wayne Shepherd, (on multiple tours with a recent stop playing to a sold out crowd in their hometown of Albany, NY at the Egg Performance Center) among others. The Hustlers have also been a mainstay at festivals and music events across the Northeast, including Alive @ 5, the Americade Bike Fest, , Movefest, the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City, to name a few. They have been named Best Original Blues Rock band multiple times by Albany’s Metroland magazine. The band has released two full-length albums and a live EP: “Live at the Egg,” and will be at work on a fourth project this year. 

The NY based band was formed in 2010 when Sly Fox’s longtime friend and musical partner, the Anti- Records recording artist Sean Rowe took a leave from rock and roll to focus on performing solo. At the same time, Sly had been writing songs to help work through a difficult time in his life, and was becoming an engaging singer. 

"Sean and I had been playing guitars together and writing songs since we were twelve years old and Sean had always been the singer,” says Sly. “Shortly after Sean went solo, I had been going through some tough times which had inspired me to write several new songs and they were just so personal that I felt I had to sing them to get the feeling and emotion across. So I became a singer out of necessity, and those songs became my first album, ‘The Low Life.’" Meanwhile, Sly was jamming with former Epic recording artist Dylan Storm, who had been frontman for the successful pop-punk band Graystar

"Dylan is a great singer, songwriter, and guitarist. But when we started jamming and he picked up the bass, I was blown away by the way he attacked the instrument and how it fit with my songs and carried them to another level” says Sly Fox " 

The mix of Sly's powerful lead vocals and fuzzy blues-soaked guitar with Dylan's throbbing, funky bass-playing and high energy stage presence provided the unique edge that defines the band’s sound and live shows. The search was then on for a great drummer to fill out the sound. After having played with a few over the years, the band landed its most recent addition: drummer Sean Ireland, who spiced up the mix with his powerful John Bonham-style playing. 

Sly says "Once we had Sean, he fit like the missing puzzle piece and we knew we had a very unique blend of rock and roll stew to share with the world: Equal parts raw blues, funk, and soul, with a dash of punk, served on a hot plate with a rough edge that you don't usually find in bluesy or roots-based music.” 

The band will continue to call New York their home as they tour throughout the United States this summer. Wherever they travel, however, Sly says that a connection with the audience is paramount: 

“We want to get on the road and travel, see new faces and share our music with people that feel our vibe. We just love playing live, putting all of our heart and soul into every performance. So many people come up after the shows and say ‘we felt it man’ and we know exactly what they mean. When hard working people get together, celebrate with their friends and forget their problems for a little while and just enjoy the moment of being alive,  that's what living is all about - being in the moment. It's the universal, timeless spirit of music that makes you ‘feel it’ - true magic... Live music can be like a ritual when it's pure and real, it has a spiritual healing power. We just want to keep making the people feel it and be here with us as we do our part to carry the torch of rock n roll into the 21st Century."

Band Members