For 2021, I did something a little different here at 2 Loud 2 Old Music. I tracked every single album I listened to kind of like Spotify, but more manual and not as technical. Every time I listened to an album or E.P., I wrote it down. And I will say that this will be the last and only time I ever do this as it was a pain in the ass. I will say, this was not a normal year. I worked from home all year which gave me access to all my music, vinyl, cds and streaming. I didn’t include individual songs or shuffling which I like to do. These were straight album listens from beginning to end in the order the album was meant to be heard.
A couple more points to note. When I do a review of an album, I try to listen to it 5 to 6 times before reviewing so there are a lot of repeat listens to an album. And what did I track? I tracked the following:
Year of Release
Day of the Week
With all that data, I am able to give you lots of useless information that I thought would be fun. So let’s get started. How many albums did 2 Loud 2 Old Listen to in 2021? Easy…1,374!! If I was working in the office, the number probably would’ve been no where even close to that number. Now let’s get in to the juicy details. Out of the 1,374 albums, there were 609 unique albums I heard during the year.
What were the Top 20 Bands I listened to during the year and how many albums?
Note, I worked on a number of Review Series during the year and made some Album Rankings and as a result, those are going to be high on my list. I don’t think there are really any surprises on this list, especially the Top 5 as they were all Review Series. There were 290 different artist and bands I listened to throughout the year.
Count of Artist
Stone Temple Pilots
Jeff Scott Soto
What were the Top Albums I listened to during the year?
Welcome to the next installment of Purchases as we run through the monthly purchases here at 2 Loud 2Old Music. And this was a good month…a really good one. This would be a quality month over quantity although the quantity was still there. The month started out with a visit to one of my favorite stores Noble Records. It was Dillion’s 2nd Anniversary as a Brick & Mortar store and he was putting out some holy grail items for sure. I’m not one of crowds at the moment so I knew it was going to be packed so I waiting until later in the day before I showed up. There was nothing I was really looking for so going early didn’t matter. I was there to show some support.
The first thing I found were some great 7″ Singles. 2 from Quiet Riot and one from David Bowie. I nice score for me and I will take it…
And there was still more. Now, I didn’t really find a whole lot. But I found something I had never seen before so I grabbed it. It was an alternate cover for the Scorpions debut, “Lonesome Crow”. And it is a cool cover. It turns out, this was a reissue of the album from 1982 or 1983 and it had came in a translucent brownish, yellowish, orangish color…wait…maybe it is gold. Who knows, but I know I loved the cover and sold!!!
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.
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 #268, we are going to discuss the controversial song “Ballad of Trayvon Martin” by Will Hoge off his protest E.P. from 2012 called ‘Modern American Protest Music. The song, along with the rest of the album, is brutal and forthright. Will Hoge lays out in all its ugliness and truth and exposes the underbelly of America.
The “Ballad of Trayvon Martin” is about the case where George Zimmerman shoots a young black gentlemen who seems to me minding his own business. Will tells the story in great detail about why George shoots Trayvon to how George seems to get off and not charged with murder. Will isn’t afraid to point out the racism inherent in the system and he takes aim at the Florida “Stand Your Own Ground” Law. He definitely doesn’t paint a pretty picture about George or even Police Chief Lee. I remember vividly when this happened and nothing seem to make sense from the news reports. I could never see what reason George had to be suspicious other than a young black man walking down the street. Oh my heavens, that must mean he is up to no good…at least in George’s eyes. If George would’ve only listened to the 911 Dispatcher and do nothing and the Police handle it, would it have turned out differently?
Now let us talk about the music. Will comes straight in to the verses within the first note of starting the song accompanied by an electric guitar. After the opening verse, the drum and another guitar join and by the chorus we get the full band in its all its glory. It is simple, yet effective as it should be as the lyrics are the main focus as this is a protest song don’t forget. I love the little guitar solos between the chorus and the next verse that happens a couple times. All-in-all, the song is so powerful and packs quite a punch. Will really painted a picture of the situation with his words and they flowed perfectly together. His story telling is on full display and a perfect example on why I think Will is one of the best songwriters in the business.
For My Sunday Song #267, we are going to dive in to the song “Guitar or a Gun” by Will Hoge. The song is off his 2015 album ‘Small Town Dreams’. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, the album went to #15 on the Country Charts and #162 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart. The song was written by Will Hoge, Dylan Altman and Gary Allan. Will sought out Gary specifically to write with on this track along with another song in hopes Gary would record them. Thankfully for us, Gary passed and Will got to keep this great track all his own.
The song is basically Will thinking about growing up in Franklin, Tennessee. Will would go to the local pawn shop and stare for hours at the guitars on the wall and the guns behind the counter. He would ride his bike over there every weekend. After mowing lawns all Summer, he took his $200 he earned and finally went to that pawn shop to buy one of those two items. He wanted both and the lyrics tell you what his dad said about them but not letting you know really which one his dad was talking about. All Will could think about was being in a gang…a gang of guys that form a band or a gang of guys to do nothing but get in to trouble and ride off in to the sunset like the gang from the movie “Young Guns”. Since we are reviewing a song by Will Hoge, I believe we know he chose the Guitar.
The song is a southern rock sounding track with an acoustic guitar, an electric, a piano and some driving drum beats. It starts off slow with the acoustic guitar and then Will singing the first verse before the band comes in and then they all join in and take it home. The bridge and chorus kick it up a notch and are catchy and colorful. The music and the song feel tell a great story and take you back to your childhood where you might have had the same thoughts. Will is a master at telling great stories and this song is just that.
For My Sunday Song #266, we are going to discuss the song “A Little Bit of Rust” by Will Hoge. The song is off his 2017 album ‘Anchors’ and sees Will find his way back from depression after excessive touring from his ‘Small Town Dreams’ album. The song was supposed to be for the prior album, but Will held it off wanting to do it as a duet and he wanted the perfect female voice and he found that with Sheryl Crow, an old family friend.
The song is about overcoming obstacles during difficult times in a relationship. We all go through those. It seems to be talking about being in a relationship that tends to just start fading away for no reason. You fall in to a routine and start taking each other for granted and forgetting to take time for each other. You start building up a little rust. As he states in the song…
Ain’t nothin’ we can’t fix Ain’t no broken trust Ain’t no great divide between the two of us It’s just the heavy hand of time
The building blocks are there, you need to work a little harder to remember why you are together and rekindle that spark. Will has a way to right what is real and honest and lays it out nicely in a beautiful story.
Musically the song has some bluesy and a country vibe with a little mandolin and violin couple with some fine playing on the electric guitar. Both Will and Sheryl’s vocals play nicely off each other. They both have a wonderful seasoned vocal that has seen its fair share of rust and they’ve worked on it and polished it up with a nice shine. It is another shining example of what I love about Will Hoge.
For My Sunday Song #265, we are going to go back to the controversy with the song “Thoughts & Prayers” by Will Hoge. The song is off his protest E.P. called ‘My American Dream’ from 2018. When Will does the E.P.’s, he has a lot to say and he will not hold back and I think that is the magic of his protest music. It is honest, truthful and he rips the band-aid right off and exposes things for what they are.
This song was inspired by yet another mass shooting and this time it was one on November 5, 2017 in Southerland Springs, Texas at a church where 26 people were murdered when someone walked in to their church and opened fire. Will heard the news while he was on tour in Denver and before his show that night, he sat down and started writing a song based around three words he found useless and pointless that was coming from the mouths of politicians. Those words were “Thoughts & Prayers”. He felt those words held no wait. We need action and not words. He rips the politicians and tears a new whole to the NRA as he speaks to fact we need better gun control in this country. He isn’t saying we don’t need guns, but more that it should be harder to get and more scrutiny who can get them.
Musically, the song is very simple. It is an acoustic guitar and Will truthfully speaking out his lyrics and you can feel the truth oozing from his mouth. You can feel the anger, feel the sadness and the hurt and you can feel the exhaustion from all the non-sense that comes from Washington D.C. Politicians that are snuggled in the warm blankets of the NRA afraid to do something and lose that NRA money for their elections. 3 years later, still zero action and it feels like we have a mass shooting almost every single day. It is really crazy. I know it isn’t guns that kill people, but something needs to be done to make it harder for those people that kill people to get them. Whatever we have right now, isn’t working.
For My Sunday Song #264, we are talking about “Middle of America” by Will Hoge. The song is off his 2015 album “Small Town Dreams” and the song went to #53 on the Country charts while the album went to #15 on the Country Charts and #162 on the Billboard 200 which isn’t the highest chart position, but it made the chart nonetheless. The song was written by Will Hoge with Jessi Alexander and Tommy Lee James who are both highly sought after writers in the Country scene.
“Middle of America” is about just that thing. Those states you tend to flyover when travelling across the country. Those small towns that keep the country moving. Will, Jessi and Tommy were having a writing session and they were talking about growing up in these small towns and what life was like. You have that town drunk, that veteran, that hometown band and everything else you would expect in a small town.
The music for the song is pure country on this one with a southern rock vibe as well. I think of it as a cross between John Mellencamp’s “Small Town” and “Pink Houses” and he knew how to tell those small town songs and I feel this one is right up there with some of the best. It is so good in fact that Will couldn’t decide whether to give to a Country artist to sing and make tons of money or keep it for himself. Thankfully, he kept it for himself. Will’s vocals fit the song perfectly. He has a little grit and also a smoothness that swallows you up in the song and makes you move to the beat and invested in the song. The guitars on it have some fine picking and the drums lay down a great beat that keeps the song a little on the happy side of nostalgia.
For My Sunday Song #263, we are discussing the song “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” by Will Hoge. The song is off his 2009 album ‘The Wreckage’ and was written by Will and Eric Paslay. The song was released as a single by Will but didn’t chart. The song was later covered by The Eli Young Band in 2012 and they had a lot of success with it going to #1 on the Country Charts. And they do a great version, but I love me some Will Hoge so that is what we are discussing.
The song is about how you need to keep on dreaming and driving forward with your goals. There are going to be a lot of “no’s” and “you can’t do thats” along the way. Your heart is going to be broken, a lot…but don’t give up and keep on fighting. Will got turned down so many times and was told he wasn’t good enough, but he showed them they were all wrong and has become a very successful songwriter and musician. He lives what he was singing and is great advice for everyone.
Musically it is more like a ballad with a country flair. It has a great groove and some fine acoustic guitar playing as well as nice what sounds like slide guitar playing as well. It has a down home, southern rock feel as well. Will’s gritty vocals give the song a lived that feeling like he has done exactly what the lyrics say to do. He makes you believe it. For me, it is really a beautiful, heartfelt song.