Tiny Little Movies
Classic Songwriting, Hunger, Enthusiasm And Inspired R&R Passion.
Born and bred in Franklin, south of Nashville, Will Hoge has been recording for some 20 years now and is not your typical Country Music artist with just 3 chords and the truth; no he’s more your blue-collar song-smith, displaying sharp, perceptive, piercing and sometime witty lyrics more in the vein of Mellencamp, Springsteen or even Steve Earle.
From my own perspective, I was in the dark and completely oblivious to him until November 2016. Following a social media exchange with some like-minded music loving friends, they opened my eyes to Will Hoge.
I then delved into his back catalogue and subsequently have acquired just about all of his recorded works. So, I’m an unabashed fan and excitedly looked forward to hearing this latest offering.
What sticks out a mile is how lively and upbeat the music is, thanks to using his tight 3 piece road band, who collectively deliver well worn rock & roll, with amplified guitars, and high levels of energy that takes you to Motown, to Metal and eventually ….. almost CBGB’s style Punk like songs, that all benefit from some wonderful melodic hooks and then Hoge’s unique, gravelly voice.
I’m told they rehearsed the various arrangements for 4 days solid in East Nashville before descending on Trace Horse Studios and recording each song live to emphasise the raw chemistry of the band.
Midway Motel welcomes you into the album, with a strong back-beat from Allen Jones’ snare drum and lyrics that tell you this is not a 5 star Hilton “Not alone, there’s a bible and a telephone, with a TV that flashes off and on”. Maybe This is OK’s theme could be autobiographical and almost sounded like one of Crowded House’s better numbers, whilst we have a relationship dichotomy with Even the River Runs Out of This Town, here Hoge reflects on the inevitable split with his girlfriend
“I love you so much, I ain’t asking you to stick around”.
Then the tempo gets lifted up a few notches with That’s How You Loose Her before accelerating into Thom Donovan’s almost Johnny Marr type guitar riff that rips into Con Man Blues.
I almost chose The Likes of You as my favourite track with it’s gentle rhythm, Knopfler guitar sound and it’s nostalgic references to his new found love.
However, this evocative track was eventually trumped by the final of these 11 fine songs with All the Pretty Horses.
On this, Hoge and his band are supplemented with some background strings to create pathos and clarity to yet another failed relationship via these heart-wrenching lyrics:
“You know the Mona Lisa, Just another rich mans daughter,
Ended up with nothing but a broken down smile,
Don’t listen to the voices, You know just what the choice is
Time to wave goodbye, To all the Pretty Horses”
When Will stretches his voice, stressing “what the choice is” it sent the proverbial shivers down my spine, and that hasn’t happened for some time. Will Hoge provides classic songwriting, covering various styles and genres, delivered with the hunger of youth, a genuine enthusiasm plus an amplified and inspired passion.
Review by Jack Kidd
“Messin’ with the Kidd” on lionheartradio.com
Released in 26th. June 2020