On the “Board” Walk: Tony Gross

(Originally written by Scott Gudell on 10/17/17)

Steam – Claudia Hoyser

Purring away – sometimes day and night – is GFI, a recording studio in rural Wayne County New York. Veteran musician and producer Tony Gross, the man who heads up the studio (and is a current board member of the Rochester Music Hall of Fame,) has been spinning the knobs and sliding the faders while still attacking the guitar and hitting the stage every once in a while for a long time – since his mid-teens. One of his latest projects is helping launch the career of 23 year old Claudia Hoyser. Together, they’ve put things in motion with the release of a five song EP called Steam.

Ms. Hoyser confidently bursts out of the studio with a sassy and flirtatious “Drinkin’ With the Boys,” the EPs attention grabbing opener. Yeah, she can go toe-to-toe with the boys but it’s also a song about spending some fun, frivolous time with close friends – male or female. The title cut, “Steam,” may use the steel tracks of various trains as its starting point but the message of “Steam” is to follow your dream. The next song up had an interesting twist: when Tony sent a rough version of “No Matter What it Costs” to a friend at a radio station in hopes of getting some professional feedback, the station-man was ‘all in’ and basically said ‘don’t change anything’ so the original uncut version is the one we get. The song keeps edging a girl with a country spirit closer to a rock and roll center. She stays feisty on “What Kind of Man” before wrapping things up with the start/stop, ‘what the hell, let’s keep going’ energy of “Red Light’s Turning Green.”

Hoyser, with hints of a young Shania Twain (whose recent 2017 comeback recordings’ may soon share air-time with Hoyser) has been showing up on a number of radio station playlists and has been hitting the road for a number of shows. As Hoyser has said “Country music is all about roots. It doesn’t matter where those roots are from. We all have stories to tell and that’s a strong part of my sound, the ‘storytelling’ part” which she’s doing one stage and one song at a time.