For My Sunday Song #270, we are discussing the final song in the Will Hoge series, “Sweet Magdeline”. The song is off the his self-released 2001 album called ‘Carousel’. The album didn’t chart, the song wasn’t a single and yet it is still all fantastic. A deep cut that is better than anything on the album for me. I believe the song was written by Will Hoge and Dan Baird frontman of the Georgia Satellites. Dan signed on as Will’s lead guitarist for this album so that is a nice endorsement.
The song is about a young girl named Magdeline who wasn’t so sweet anymore. She fell hard and deep into to drinking and that grew in to drugs and some not so nice things she did to get those drugs. The drug references are throughout with phrases like “altered dreams” and “needle and silver spoon” and the bad things such as “she is going down” to her medicine man. I don’t know if she made it back to the sweet side, but it doesn’t sound promising.
Vocally, Will sings in a more rocking style, loud and gritty. On a couple lines Will does something he hasn’t done frequently and that is sing in a high falsetto voice which comes out of the right speaker and sounds like a turned down low radio before fully filling the speakers and back to rocking it out. Musically, it is a rocker with some great guitar work by Dan and the drums are slamming. This album is a far cry from where he is style wise now and if you like his rock side more than that country/southern rock side, then this one will be perfect for you.
Can you fall in love with an album or an artist by hearing only one song? The answer for me is a resounding YES!! That happened to me many moons ago when I heard one of the coolest songs I have ever heard. The song was “Not That Cool” by Will Hoge. The song was about me. He reached into my soul and wrote this song just for me. Ok, he didn’t really, but it felt like it was.
Will Hoge has been described as Americana, Alt. Country with a Southern Rock flair and it fits him perfectly. He has a little pop, a little blues and if you need to compare him to other artists then go with John Mellencamp, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen or even Bob Dylan. Will’s ability to tell a story that can be bleak at times and uplifting at others is a shot in the arm and shows the power that can be found in music. His lyrics are an honest interpretation of what is going in America and at times a giant slap in the face. His genius lies in the words as well as the music and it is that gritty voice that draws you in and makes you care about what he has to say.
I thought it was time to rank his albums from what I think is his worst to what I feel is his best. Remember, this is what I like as a fan…not as a critic. Critics get paid, I don’t. So, if you don’t agree with this order, that is great and I think happens with every band. It is all about your timing in to the artist and what you like. This for me, is what I like. I hope you enjoy. I did something a little different with Will and included his 3 Studio E.P’s. along with his Studio albums and jumps the count up to 13 albums to go through, so grab a beer and relax and enjoy!