Touring incessantly with former Georgia Satellites guitarist Dan Baird (who later left), Hoge slowly began to gain a loyal following. A few years after that, he finally made his mark as a blue collar rocker with Carousel. But his best work was still far off, several releases later with The Wreckage.
The theme? Hoge has always leaned toward life's sometimes cruel and dark turns. And he's no stranger to them. A near fatal accident made him give up music for some time while he relearned how to walk. Eight months later, he was back in the studio. The Wreckage features a seasoned songwriter whose voice is smokier than in his early work.
“It’s hard to explain, but I felt a certain serenity making [The Wreckage],” he said of the album. “It doesn’t come through in the songs, but the process has become easier, and I believe the songs flow with more confidence.”
Sometimes with Hoge, it's hard to say. Here he is in pre-Wreckage form, in an appearance at The Loft in Atlanta. He usually performs with Sigurdur Birkis (drums) and Adam Beard (bass and vocals).
The Acoustic Sessions Brings The Wreckage Up Close And Personal.
Although The Wreckage was released in 2009, I was reminded of it with the release of The Living Room Sessions, an acoustic EP that covers some songs again. It's a broody mixture that showcases the ruggedness only people who see him live really know about. It also captures how personal he comes across (and it's much more in tune with the video above).
“I like acoustic recordings that try to be different from the album versions,” says Hoge. “We just got together and camped out at my house for a couple of days… it’s not a home studio, no real fancy set-up or multi-tracking."
The result is a more relaxed Southern-infused version of his studio songs, with Even If It Breaks Your Heart the best of the bunch. The song is even stronger as an acoustic cut. His voice also sounds more pained and purposeful on the new cuts of Goodnight/Goodnight, Favorite Waste of Time, and Too Late, Too Soon.
Sure, for several years now, many bands and musicians have released acoustic sessions. Some hope to extend the shelf life of their albums. Not all of them work. But for Hoge, almost every revisit adds more than the original.
I say almost, only because the original Long Gone feels better with more energy behind it. As for the rest, however, The Living Room Sessions are as close to touching Hoge as it gets on an album. I like him better real, without any redubbing.
Will Hoge Shatters The Wreckage With The Living Room Sessions At 5.9 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.
The Living Room Sessions are not an attempt to get more mileage out of the same. Hoge proves he has some power as a confessional rocker. The Living Room Sessions can be downloaded on iTunes.
But if you want to hear more from him, then compare some of the singles to The Wreckage. You'll also want to pick up Just Like Me from that album. It's best served with scotch and self-reflection. Will Hoge is touring around right now. Most of the dates are listed.