My first concert of 2022 was from an artist I have been following for over 20 years and for some reason have never taken time out of my day to catch him live. Well that is no longer happening. I am trying to see as many artist as I can that I haven’t seen before (of course time and money permitting). First up was the very talented, singer-songwriter rock & roll star Will Hoge. His latest album, Tiny Little Movies, came out in 2020 and as luck would have it, so did Covid and all touring. He is finally touring the album (which is amazing btw). And I am not missing it this time around.
The show was at the Neighborhood Theater in Charlotte, North Carolina and in my 8 years in Charlotte I have never seen a show at this place and is a crying shame as it is a great place. It holds just under 1,000 people and there is a balcony where you can actually sit as the rest is standing room only. Which really wasn’t an issue as for some strange reason Charlotte didn’t show up as there were less than 200 but Will still performed as if it was 20,000 as he is the consummate professional.
I bought front row tickets! Well, front row balcony because I wanted to sit down. A note on the ledge in front of us said “No Drinks”. I wonder why? So l looked over and okay…I see why now..
For My Sunday Song #269, we are going to dive in to the song “Even the River Runs Out of This Town” by Will Hoge. Man, I love that song title. The song is off his latest album, 2020’s ‘Tiny Little Movies’. The song didn’t chart, but it is one of the reason why I think this was one of the best albums to come out in 2020 and one of the best Will Hoge has ever done. It is a masterpiece as each song is exactly what the title of the album says they are….tiny little movies.
“Even the River Runs Out of this Town” I thought was about how small town America keeps getting smaller as the young adults keep leaving for the big city which you can interpret it that way. However, the song is about lost love and how he had to let her go. Even though he loved her, she was smothered by that love and that town and needed to leave. He states the highways and the railroads all leave town and that even the river leaves so it must be her turn now. It is quite a beautiful sentiment. The song is his longing for the girl that got away.
Musically, the song is a ballad done on acoustic guitar and Will’s voice. It is stripped down to its bare bones, it is raw and you can feel the pain, the heartache and the longing for his lost love. When the music can be as sad as the lyrics, then he has done something right. Like with a lot of songs of Will’s, the music is handled by nothing but uber talented musicians, but it is the lyrics that are the star and that is the case for any good songwriter.
For My Sunday Song #261, we are going to tackle 10 songs from one of my favorite artist, Will Hoge. First up is the song “The Overthrow” off his 2020 album, ‘Tiny Little Movies’. The album is so raw and honest and this song is no different. Will has a way of painting a picture of America’s landscape with his lyrics and he doesn’t hold back on this one.
Will doesn’t intentionally write political charged songs, they tend to write themselves I would guess. When he puts pen to paper and plays that first chord, I imagine the song takes on a life of its own. This song dives in to the deep end and takes on the President of the U.S.A. and many might not appreciate his candor. With lyrics like “Darth Vader with a spray tan” pretty much tells you who he is talking about. He talks about how the man is tearing the country apart and that the people about to stand up and take it all back. They are going to Overthrow him with their votes and send his ass packing and that is what happened.
Musically, it is one of Will’s heaviest, rocking tracks and won’t be typical of what I have for you with this series but I wanted to start with a bang and this one does it. It is dirty, gritty, raw and is like a fist to the face. It is straight up rock & rolll with a little punk edge at least that is what I get from it. Will’s gritty vocals are a perfect match to the music. For me, the drums and that guitar are the highlights as they are both so powerful and are making a statement just like the lyrics. It all blends together perfectly with the vocals and you get a song that grabs hold, shakes you a little and doesn’t let go. Hold on tight!
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!
Will Hoge is now on at least a dozen albums and I was completely blown away by what I heard. “Tiny Little Movies” is just what it says. It is 11 songs that each one feels like its own tiny little movie. He brings a little Americana music mixed with his Country and Rock & Roll roots and if you thought John Mellencamp painted a true picture of Middle America and its problems, Will adds more color and texture to that painting and brings it in to the 21st Century. This isn’t Country though so don’t be concerned. Think more in terms of Springsteen and Petty and you will have an idea where I place him.
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.
The album can rock out with songs such as my personal favorite “The Overthrow” which doesn’t speak too fondly of today’s leaders and Will takes on the slimiest of people in “Con Man Blues” filled with some dirty, blues guitar. With “The Curse”, I’m taken back to his early days with albums like ‘Blackbird on a Lonely Wire’ with a little more catchy groove and chorus. I mentioned Petty earlier, I feel his influence all over “That’s How You Lose Her”, it is splendid. Continue reading “Will Hoge – ‘Tiny Little Movies’ – Album Review”→