If any artist could epitomize the transformation of Nashville from singular big hat country capitol to diverse seeding ground for singer/songwriters, Americana, indie rock, roots soul and eclectic art/pop it's Tennessee native Will Hoge. For over a decade, Hoge has deftly sewn all of those aforementioned elements into a rough hewn, comfortable stylistic kit bag extending over six acclaimed albums and countless dynamic live shows. But it is relatively recent events like a near fatal motorcycle accident and his maturing into new roles as husband and father that shape Number Seven, his forthcoming September 27 album via Ryko. Hoge has always worn his emotions and proudly on sleeve and his new songs take that the rare qualities of intelligence, passion and thoughtfulness to even higher level here.
Hoge speaks of a new patience in his creative approach, not simply diving headlong in a moment's impulse but taking time to reflect and review, scrap and start over, tweak and shift gears. For his last album Wreckage, the choice was made for him via a lengthy accident rehabilitation process that literally sidelined him for nearly a year. Number Seven takes that same mindset of what Hoge calls "that long hard look" at his new songs. "When I Get My Wings", one of the the album's many highlights, began as a bluegrass tune and ended, after hours of reworking, as a sweaty, soul-drenched Stax-influenced belter of enormous power. The emotional ballad "Trying to Be a Man", on the other hand, digs deep into a man's challenges of fatherhood, based on his own life and that of a friend who lost his wife in childbirth. In between there are rootsy rave-ups and southern twang, introspective folk and country soul. Older and wiser, Hoge would -- and could -- clearly have it no other way.
Will Hoge - "When I Get My Wings" (fromNumber Seven)
Will Hoge - "Trying to Be a Man" (from Number Seven)