Joel Hoekstra | The Moon is Falling

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Jazz: Jazz Fusion Rock: Progressive Rock Moods: Featuring Guitar
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The Moon is Falling

by Joel Hoekstra

Guitar driven insrumental music that is experimental, but accesible.
Genre: Jazz: Jazz Fusion
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Moon is Falling
3:55 $0.99
2. Fire Island
5:02 $0.99
3. Euphoria
3:56 $0.99
4. Translucent
3:32 $0.99
5. 9/11
3:46 $0.99
6. Join Us
4:31 $0.99
7. The Great Og
3:43 $0.99
8. Baboons Are Dangerous
3:28 $0.99
9. Antonia
4:05 $0.99
10. Confessions
4:45 $0.99
11. Snoop
4:23 $0.99
12. Maybe Just at Parties
4:58 $0.99
13. Kaleidoscope
6:47 $0.99
14. Lull
3:15 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
This CD, Joel Hoekstra's second, is the follow-up to the successful 'undefined'.

Once again, Hoekstra is backed by the incredible Virgil Donati (Planet X, Steve Vai) on drums and the amazing Ric Fierabracci (Chick Corea, Andy Summers) on bass.

The CD displays Hoekstra's expanding creative horizons and his pursuit of sonic invention while drawing on influences from rock, jazz, funk and classical. There are also some tongue-in-cheek moments along the way.

Co-produced and mixed by the incomparable T.J. Helmerich, 'The Moon is Falling' will entertain and delight fans of instrumental music and is an important landmark in the growth of a unique artist.

New York guitarist Joel Hoekstra is a musician on the rise as both a consummate sideman and an innovative solo artist. Joel's cd's 'undefined' and 'The Moon is Falling' have found a strong cult following and critical acclaim. Recently, he completed his third cd '13 acoustic songs' and is currently performing with Night Ranger and rocking NYC in the hit show 'Rock of Ages'.

Joel has worked on/with the following....

Night Ranger
Scrap Metal
The Turtles
Big Brother and the Holding Company
Eric Martin (Mr Big)
Alan Parsons
Martha Davis (The Motels)
Mickey Thomas (Starship)
Rik Emmett (Triumph)
John Waite
Emily Saliers (Indigo Girls)
Beth Hart
Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow, Deep Purple)
Donnie & Johnny Van Zant
Don Barnes (38 Special)
Kevin Cronin (REO Speedwagon)
Gunnar and Matthew Nelson (Nelson)
Jimi Jamison (Survivor)
Dave Bickler (Survivor)
Mark Slaughter (Slaughter)
Hugh Jackman
Chan Marshall (Kat Power)
Constantine Maroulis (American Idol)
Henry Paul (The Outlaws, Blackhawk)
Ray Parker Jr.
Sandra Bernhard Jim Peterik (Ides of March, Survivor)
Tom Keifer (Cinderella)
Kip Winger

Rock of Ages (off-Broadway)
Love, Janis (New York, San Francisco, Phoenix, Cleveland, Louisville, Cincinnati, Tucson, Sag Harbor)
The Boy From Oz (Broadway)
Tarzan (Broadway)
La Cage Aux Folles (Broadway)
It Ain't Nothin But the Blues (Tucson, Phoenix, Kansas City, Seattle, Chicago*)
A Chorus Line (Broadway Cast Recording 2006)
Lovely Day (off-Broadway)

* nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for 'Best Musical Direction'

Late Night with Conan O'Brien
Last Call with Carson Daly
The Sandra Bernhard Experience (A&E)
20/20 (ABC)
Nick Cannon (Nickolodeon)
FOX Morning news (New York, Chicago, Tucson, Kansas City, Atlanta, Louisville, Cincinnati)
WGN Morning News (Chicago)
ABC's View From the Bay (San Francisco)
The Loose Leaf Report (LA)
WB Morning News (New York)
The New York Today Show
ABC's New Years Eve Countdown (Chicago)
NBC "Good Company" (Cleveland)
UPN: Live at the Taste (Chicago)
I-90 North (Chicago)
NBC Morning News (Louisville)
Barry Z Show (New York)
Guitar Talk (Chicago)
NBC's 'The Bay Area Today' (San Francisco)
NBC's 'Arizona Midday'

Resurrection Mary
The Last Winter

Played the national anthem for a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden

Suhr amps & guitars
Nady wireless systems
Ernie Ball strings
Big Bends Nut Sauce
T. Miranda Pedals
Dimarzio pick-ups



to write a review


An album in search of itself . . .
The musicianship on this album is superb. That point cannot be argued. Hoekstra and company delivered some fine playing but -- what is this album trying to communicate to the listening audience? The album itself lacks continuity and musical direction. If it were presented as a "concept" approach then the content would be understandable but that is not the case here. Instead, the listener is left to decipher from track-to-track what is going on. I hesitate to "label" or categorize any musical form but this album is so "all over the place" that is defies any genre classification. From a composition standpoint the tracks are immature in structure and it would appear that "throwing-in" any experimental part survived to the final cut. I expected much more from Joel but perhaps it is I who set the bar too high.

Vitaly Menshikov

"Fantastically inventive, very astonishingly fresh sounding album!
If I say that the new Joel Hoekstra album is a step forward in comparison with its predecessor, I will say almost nothing. "The Moon Is Falling" is not only in every respect better than "Undefined", but also is one of the most original and impressive albums I've heard this year, at least. Two out of the fourteen compositions here (all are full instrumental this time): Antonia and Lull (9 & 14) are wonderful, beautiful, very tasteful guitar Art-Rock-based ballads giving the listener some rest in this world of unusual, quite tense, and amazingly innovative music. The other twelve compositions are entities of a unified stylistics representing an extremely unique amalgam of both of the guitar and symphonic kinds of Art-Rock, Jazz-Fusion, Cathedral Metal, and Fifth Element, all of which was from the outset blessed by charisma. (Although the quantity of elements of each of the said genres is variable on different tracks, all of this has on the whole a slight influence upon the state of the album's predominant stylistics.) The sound is very unexpected, to say the least. It is definitely new, clearly modern, and is always diverse and, at the same time, very attractive. All the arrangements on the album are certainly and by all means progressive, and yet, they've been 'constructed' way different than those in classic forms of Progressive Rock. Most of the tracks here consist of arrangements that are marvelously both powerful and atmospheric, and some, in addition, are notable for being lightly touched by music of the East. While the parts of the main soloing instruments: guitar, bass and, in a less degree, keyboards and flutes can be fast in places, the music is basically either slow or mid-tempo. Fantastically inventive, very tasteful, mostly dramatic and, often, quite dark, it is just filled with mystery, magic, and almost physically perceptible hypnotism.

Conclusion. I experienced great pleasure in listening to Joel Hoekstra's "The Moon Is Falling", which is interesting from the first to the last note. I can't compare it with anything else, not to mention the works of so-called electric guitar heroes such as Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Tony MacAlpine, Yngwie Malmsteen, etc. This is an astonishingly fresh sounding album, and I just haven't heard anything like this until now. Highly recommended, of course.


The Moon Is Falling
This CD is extraordinary. "Confessions" is my favorite from this CD. It has a little touch of exotic flavor to it and it is just a sexy song. I love it. The CD is just filled with colorful tunes and I think everyone will enjoy it.


Robert Silverstein

The Moon Is Falling is a superbly recorded CD of imaginative, kinetic and often
On the rise both as a session player and as a solo artist, guitarist Joel Hoekstra released his second solo album in 2003. An adventurous jazzy, rocking guitar instrumental album that will appeal to fans of progressive guitar heroes such as Frank Zappa and Alan Holdsworth, The Moon Is Falling blends 14 tracks of skillfully executed jazz-rock tracks. Recorded in California, New York and Chicago, the album features top support players including Virgil Donati (drums), Ric Fierabracci (bass) and Chris Grove (keyboards). A native of the Chicago area, Hoekstra added to his stellar reputation recently playing in Jim Peterik’s World Stage band as well as in the off-Broadway production of Love, Janis. Adding to his session credits, Hoekstra has also played alongside guitar great Sam Andrews and Big Brother and the Holding Company as well with The Turtles. The follow-up to Hoekstra’s debut album, Undefined, 2003’s The Moon Is Falling is a superbly recorded CD of imaginative, kinetic and often daring guitar-driven sounds.

Jerry Kranitz

Hot shit. Check it out.
Joel Hoekstra is back and his band once again includes the winning rhythm section of Virgil Donati on drums and Ric Fierabracci on bass, and we also have Chris Grove on keyboards. The band come roaring out of the starting gate with the title track, which is a Country-Funk-Metal blend with a fusiony Eddie Van Halen shred solo that announces loudly and proudly that this follow-up to Hoekstra's Undefined CD from 2000 is going to be another monstrous and lusciously varied slab of instrumental guitar heaven.

Among the highlights is "Fire Island", which begins as an easy-paced jazz tune, but includes moments of roadburning rock and mind blowing guitar. Hoekstra excels at incorporating an array of styles and themes into individual tracks in a way that flows seamlessly and comes off like a multi-themed progressive rock suite... all compacted within a 3-4 minute construction. Only 2 of the CD's 14 tracks break the 5 minute mark. Yet Hoekstra manages to make highly sophisticated and totally kick ass statements within a framework that, for him, is clearly not a limitation. "9/11" is a frantic and quirky rocker that includes calmer moments of jazz fusion and much more. And it's interesting that a song called "9/11" would be followed by one with samples of Michael Rennie's statement to the world in The Day The Earth Stood Still for mankind to abandon his war-like ways and join the advanced races' "system that works". Food for thought. And it's a killer tune with the usual Hoekstra variety and includes moments of pounding King Crimson styled power. "The Great Og" is a crunchy rocker with a metallic edge, fiery shred guitar and some cool little spacey bits. "Antonia" and "Confessions" are among the more sedate songs on the CD, and appearing back-to-back in the playlist serve as peaceful breathers in the midst of the storm. "Maybe Just At Parties" is an excellent funky jazz-in-space tune I enjoyed. At nearly 7 minutes "Kaleidoscope" is the longest track of the set and is a roller coaster ride of progressive rock, jazz fusion and metal. And the closing track, the aptly titled "Lull", is an acoustic guitar piece given a freaky edge by barely audible UFO electronics swirling around in the background.

In summary, I give this CD a big thumbs up to guitar fans of all stripes, and the prog rock crowd will find much to enjoy too. Hoekstra is full of flash, but keeps the discerning listener interested and at full attention throughout the album with his skillful and imaginative blend of styles and turn-on-a-dime thematic twists and turns. Hot shit. Check it out.

Jedd Beaudoin

Hoekstra deserves wider acclaim.
You know the old saying about how just when you think everything’s been said and done someone comes along and surprises you, right? That can certainly be said of Joel Hoekstra who, with The Moon Is Falling, has taken the beast known as "The Guitar Record" and turned it on its ear. While Hoekstra continues the time-honored tradition of evoking a variety of moods and and a variety of genres, The Moon Is Falling emanates from a single, focused voice that blasts listeners with its complexity, integrity and honesty.

The variations within that voice, the various tones it strikes are incredible as there are moments of something approaching traditional jazz (moments of the gorgeous “Fire Island”) to contemporary fusion in the vein of Planet X (X drummer Virgil Donati lends his unique groove and oddly melodic drumming to this album) to tres bizarre rock-ish grooves (“Baboons Are Dangerous” and “9/11,” both of which are reminiscent of Primus) and even something approximating hip-hop (“Snoop”). The ballads here would be referred to as obligatory in the hands of a lesser guitarist but when Hoekstra heads for said terrain, you get the feeling that it’s because the time is right, not just because he has to.

In short, The Moon Is Falling is a fine, strange beautiful release, as good as Joe Satriani’s Flying In A Blue Dream or Planet X’s recent Moonbabies. Hoekstra deserves wider acclaim and The Moon Is Falling is a step in the right direction.

Christopher J. Kelter

impressed me from the first riff to the last....
As I have implied before I am just thrilled that the Rough Edge gig provides me the opportunity to hear unknown instrumental guitarists without being tainted by any bias that I might have gained over the Internet or other media. Now, even though I've enjoyed all the works I've heard, it goes without saying that some are better than others -- the really good instrumental guitarists who aren't (yet) signed to a label of any kind I can count on one hand. And it is rare that I get to say that someone should be on a label regardless of the buying public's collective ability to 'get' what an artist has to offer. Joel Hoekstra is one of those artists that provides absolute proof that the music industry has its head up its collective ass because this guy is one helluva artist and rocker.

Joel Hoekstra's "The Moon Is Falling" is one of the few albums that has impressed me from the first riff to the last. "The Moon Is Falling" is a progressive instrumental rock showcase that shows an artist pushing boundaries, breaking rules, and getting a hook-laden groove to swing with all kinds of ideas. Hoekstra seems to combine the best of Satriani-esque surfing melodies, funk-jazz-rock fusion, elements of classical guitar -- and it comes all wrapped up in Buckethead-like daring and confidence. It's quite a combination and Joel Hoekstra makes it all work.

Far be it for me to focus solely on Joel Hoekstra. Any great musician needs great supporting musicians to make it all work. Hoekstra is joined by Chris Grove on keyboards, Ric Fierabracci on bass, and Virgil Donati on drums. I'm unaware of Grove and Fierabracci, but I must say these guys are talented just on the basis of hearing this one album. At least I've heard Virgil Donati in Planet X so I know how good a musician he is without knowing of his reputation -- Donati's sparkling reputation gets an even more dazzling recommendation due to his performance here. Dan Cipriano and Jay Cappo also make solid contributions.

Joel Hoekstra and "The Moon Is Falling" has made me a believer once again that an artist can come out of the blue and make me realize that some of the best musicians just haven't been discovered by the music labels yet. But it seems that Joel Hoekstra is someone who can make a name for himself just on the strength of word-of-mouth press and changing music industry landscape whereby a musician doesn't necessarily need a label to succeed.

"The Moon Is Falling" was produced by Joel Hoekstra and T.J. Helmerich.

Joel Hoekstra is joined by Ric Fierabracci on bass, Chris Grove on keyboards, and Virgil Donati on drums. Additional musicians include Dan Cipriano on sax, flute, and piccolo and Jay Cappo on keyboards.

Christopher J. Kelter,

MJ Brady

This is one of the most impressive cds from a guitarist I have heard.
Having the opportunity to have listened and reviewed Joel Hoekstra's Undefined cd here at Prognosis, would have never prepared me for what I would be hearing on his latest 2003 effort called The Moon Is Falling. I truly enjoyed Undefined which mean't Joel was an artist that I would be keeping an eye on in the future.

After the first go through on this cd, I had to re-examine myself to consider what I had just heard. So I began to repeatedly play this cd on every system I have for the next couple weeks. And even now as I type, I am truly amazed at the entertainment value that Joel has concocted for this release. Apparently he has been a busy man in the studio, not only as a writer, but the production aspects of this cd make it, in and of itself something of a new standard for instrumental, guitar based recordings.

Joel again has employed the extreme drumming talents of Virgil Donati, and fellow Australian, bassist Ric Fierabracci, who have both recently toured together with the phenominal heavy fusion quartet, Planet X. As if those names aren't enough to stimulate one's peak interest for hard instrumental music, it should also be noted that Joel is actually on this cd as well, while not as well known as the Aussie connection, it is his vision and incredible talents that makes this cd such a 'must buy' for fans of progressive, instrumental music.

Most everyone knows that there are more good guitar players 'out there' than one could have ever imagined, very few of them are attempting to do more in the way of innovation or making compositional statements, but are merely content to display the latest techniques they have perfected in their hours of practice. So with much pleasure hearing what Joel Hoekstra has invented on this cd, only leads me to give it my highest recommendation.

The Moon Is Falling, is a collection of 14 songs, a collection that entertains the senses beyond aural and sonic impressions, the cd leaves one wondering how it ended so fast. Not only are there world class musicians performing at their very best, they are doing it in a format that reaches a quite a bit deeper than performances alone. Joel shows that careful detailing in complex arrangements can make for music of the highest intrigue. And that riff and licks alone don't leave a lasting impression, but content and delivery do. His ability to write music that demands and allows the musicians to be at their very best, also gets enhanced by many other facets, sound bytes, loops, and most of all, his incredible selection of tonal variations on the guitar.

Joel's last cd was called Undefined, a word that aptly describes the musical varieties on this cd. At times you will get punchy, staccato like, Planet X grooves, but not for long, the music will take you on adventures into your imagination, as if a soundtrack to many different vignettes, ie: Sci-fi, adventure, horror, detective dramas, etc. There are even some very intimate guitar pieces towards the end of the cd with songs - Antonia, Confessions & Lull, all beautiful pieces that show a more serious side, reminding me of players like Phil Keaggy or some of Brett Garseds' most recent work.

This is one of the most impressive cds by a guitarist I have heard, not only is his playing excellent, and the musician contributions stellar, but in the way it was produced. Every aspect of musical appreciation is redefined on The Moon Is Falling. This cd comes with my highest recommendation for fans of hard, complex, progressive, instrumental music. Look for it at Joels' website, or Guitar Nine records online. It's a can't miss!

Chris Ruel

The range of styles that Hoekstra seamlessly integrates throughout the compositi
Joel Hoestra rebounds from his phenomenal genre-exploring, debut release, Undefined, with a compositional masterpiece of completely original and unique instrumental material on The Moon Is Falling. The unexpected change in direction caught this reviewer completely by surprise and left me thinking that this follow up to Undefined should have been named "Unexpected - Redefined" because Joel Hoekstra has completely redefined his scope and artistic depth on this release. The album consists of complex, mind-bending compositions in a concept album format where the tracks are bound by a unifying thread of musical continuity that runs throughout the album giving it a paradoxical cohesion relative to the diverse musical ideas that Hoekstra explores. Though Hoekstra's guitar work is advanced and impressive, the fretboard finesse that Hoekstra demonstrates on the album is merely a tool that he uses to shape his musical vision that is dominated by the compositional genius that Hoekstra has achieved on this effort. Fans of Hoekstra's first release, Undefined, should abandon any expectations of a sequel that resembles in any way his previous effort. Hoekstra has taken aim on defying categorization based on his debut release and has succeeded in making a complete departure from his first album's style.

The album opens with a disillusioned descent into instrumental madness that is reminiscent of Ron Thal's impressionistic compositional style that uses musical motifs to paint emotional imagery targeted at the listener's subconscious psyche, though in no way infringes on Thal's patented style. Though Hoekstra at times sounds redolent of many other instrumental artists, the manner it is done leaves the listener with the uncertainty of whether it is due to true influence or coincidental exploratory coverage of the same experimental territory. Hoekstra delves into many complex tonal themes and savory chordal phrasings that are carefully crafted together into gripping, dynamic arrangements that leave the listener bewildered with amazement because of the seeming incompatibility of the enigmatic motifs that are woven together into confoundingly coherent, exotic compositions. And then, these multifarious pieces are complemented surprisingly on other tracks by translucent melodies that haunt the listener with their eery, unearthly harmonies. Some of these melodies summon nostalgic flashes of ancient, classic musical themes from a wide variety of epic tunes conceived by the likes of thematic masters such as JS Bach, Billy Joel, Eagles, Lyle Workman, and Steve Morse, among to many other disparate artists to even attempt to list. Though again, the similarity in these profound themes to the apparent influences leaves the listener with the impression that the flares of congruence are fortuitous. And, though these bursts of impressionistic flashbacks are striking to the listener, their role in the overall scheme of the compositions are more or less subservient to the overall dauntingly intrepid and captivating mosaics that they fit. The range of styles that Hoekstra seamlessly integrates throughout the compositions is staggering, traversing many genres such as jazz, fusion, funk, classical, and concept rock, as well as many styles and schools of thought within them. This transparent integration of diverse styles is done in a deft manner that makes the listener feel as though there were some natural affinity for these incongruous styles to belong together as incorporated in and revealed by Hoekstra's enlightening revelations of stylistic fusion set forth on this CD. The net effect of Hoekstra's colossal efforts on The Moon Is Falling is a modern epic of composition, technical execution, and conceptual content that will leave fans of instrumental musics in a state of astonishment pondering the visionary musical vision contained on this album.

As a parting note on this review, I will add that due to the originality and uniqueness of the content on this CD, this was one of the most difficult reviews that I have had to write to date. There really is nothing that I am familiar with that this CD could be compared to give listeners an idea of what it sounds like. The guitar work and incredible composition will surely be of interest to fans of progressive instrumental music. But, though this CD has found a fan in this listener's ear, I am not sure what audience this CD will appeal, even among fans of progressive music. The album has a very unusual dichotomy of complexity and accessiblity that makes it difficult for me to predict what listeners will acclimate to it. Be that as it may, I recommend that all fans of progressive instrumental music check out The Moon Is Falling from Joel Hoekstra and give it a chance to sink in. This is definitely not the type of album that most listeners will be able to fully absorb the first time through. But, this is the type of album that a listener will never grow tired because of its constantly shifting sonic soundscapes that relentlessly challenge the listener with one theme after another transitioning with constantly unpredictable directional changes that often resolve into profoundly and deeply satisfying conclusions.