|Will Hoge at home on stage|
Today, many decades later, Hoge no longer lives in that Tennessee home and his prized, old transistor radio long ago found its way to the dump. But the diversified music he listened to lives on as he tours the country, playing his pleasingly hard-to-categorize songs for appreciative audiences such as the one he found last week at Jammin' Java in Vienna, Virginia.
Hoge's performance was the next to last stop on his Let Me Be Lonely 2012 solo tour. It came just a few weeks after he was nominated for his 1st Grammy for Best Country Song "Even If It Breaks Your Heart," a song that appeared on his 2008 album and was re-recorded by the Eli Young Band and released this year.
Hoge performed several songs from his latest CD American Protest Music (which I rate as one of my 10 favorite CDs of 2012). They included "Folded Flag," "Times Are Not Changing," and "Jesus Came to Tennessee." He also drew from his extensive catalog with renditions of such fan favorites as "Fool's Gonna Fly," "The Highway's Home," "Baby Girl," and, of course "Even If It Breaks Your Heart." Hoge even played a couple of-yet unreleased songs including one about a gambling man and the love of his wife.
Promising songwriter Erick Baker, accompanied by the upright piano and amazing fiddle work of Donnie Reece, opened the show. During the middle of Baker's performance Hoge surprised his fellow songwriter by presenting him with a birthday cake on stage. "It Erick's birthday. So if you are only going to buy one CD tonight .................. make it a Will Hoge CD. But if you are going to buy 2 CDs tonight, then pick up one of Erick's," Hoge joked as the enthusiastic crowd shouted its approval.
Tales, Tidbits, and Tips
As I indicated above, Hoge's songs are hard to categorize. Is he country? Rock? Country/rock? Alt country? A Tennessee Bruce Springsteen? Well, labels are just restricting conveniences. The best thing is to check out the music. So for those of you who don't know him, let me introduce you to Will Hoge. Just click on the links below. I think you will like the music. I know I do.
He played these:
He didn't play this but it is my favorite Will Hoge song:
And if you want even more: