Silver-tongued, Classy and Deeply Personal Country Heartbreakers.
After reviewing a slew of dark and intimate singer-songwriter albums recently, I woke up this morning needing to hear some happy upbeat music.
After pressing ‘random’ on the I-player a few times the Country Rocker This Isn’t An Original Sin by Will Hoge boomed out of the office speakers! That’ll do for me, I thought.
I found the album and immediately Track #1 The Reckoning made me sit back in my chair. Nothing at like ‘Original Sin’ Hoge’s cracked and pleading voice on a slow sad ballad wasn’t what I should be listening to; but hooked me like a big fat fish on a Sunday morning.
Whoa…..this guy can really write a song; and sing it too.
The delightful acoustic guitar that opens the next track This Grand Charade will lull the casual listener into a false sense of security; as this song about the slow and painful breakdown of a marriage, as told from the husband’s point of view is stunning, as Hoge fills the verses with the kind of detail that surely only someone who has experienced that charade first hand can write and sing about.
OK, you may already know that this is CMA, ACM and Grammy nominated Will Hoge’s seventh sol album and his list of hit songs for others is long as my arm; but I didn’t but when you hear the likes of Through Missing You, Baby’s Eyes and the strikingly beautiful Angels Wings it’s easy to imagine the ‘hat acts’ and their managers in Nashville Town asking for permission to record them; but none will be as intimate as the original by Hoge himself.
It’s a similar story with A Cold Night in Santa Fe; my stomach was in knots as Hoge manages to describe a passionate love affair from start to its slow and excruciating closure in four minutes; which is some special achievement.
The title song Anchors, about a young man who worries about ‘the sinners of the father/weighing like an anchor on a chain’ will make your jaw hit your chest and possibly even forget to breathe for the last minute or so; at least it did with me!
The accolade of RMHQ ‘Favourite Song’ should by rights go to This Isn’t An Original Sin and could easily have been the best song Steve Earle never wrote, Little Bit of Rust (which features Sheryl Crow btw) but actually goes to another blaster of a Country Rocker……and a Summer ‘driving song’ par excellence, Young As We’ll Ever Be, which closes the album and opens the door for me to Will Hoge’s expansive back catalogue.
All in one album of 11 songs Will Hoge takes us on an emotional roller-coaster but by the end you know there is still ‘hope’ that the next ‘love story’ will be the love of your life; and surely that’s what the best of Country Music does better than any other genre?
Now ANCHORS has been on the office Hi-Fi all morning, I’ve decided this just may be the finest Country Record I will hear this year; and I will hear a lot.
Released 11th August 2017
UK Tour July 2017