Houston native Jay Hooks can stand shoulder to shoulder with the long list of Texas electric blues guitar legends he emulates. He grew up playing guitar on the Houston bar circuit throughout the late '70s and '80s, earning his stripes by playing in the shadow of local legends like Albert Collins and Billy Gibbons. Taking a nod from these sources, Hooks' was able to incorporate the highly typified electric blues/rock sound of Stevie Ray Vaughan with his affinity for more traditional blues influences. He received his first major exposure after he was asked to join Texas R&B die-hard "Miss" Lavelle White on a series of national tours. Hooks intermittently toured as White's guitarist for about a year before putting together a backing band and going solo in 1997. He went into the studio as a band leader and came out with his solo debut, Hooked Up. The album features a collection of gritty, rock-tinged electric blues numbers that didn't stray far outside the conventions that his aforementioned guitar heroes had brought into an international spotlight. That same spotlight also found Hooks at the end of the '90s when a European record executive by the name of Ed van Zyl heard the record and offered Hooks a contract with international marketing and distribution. The result of the contract was a self-titled sophomore effort that Hooks recorded under the guidance of producer Ben Elliot (whose resumé boasts the likes of Leslie West and Eric Clapton) for Provogue/Mascot Records. Jay Hooks' self-titled full-length recalled the strong regional traditions of Texas' super-charged blues and was released in the fall of 2000.