Flyinshoes Review

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WILL HOGE —ANCHORS (Edlo Records / Thirty Tigers)


Nashville-based Will Hoge has been making records since 2001, and up till recently had gained critical acclaim but not the recognition deserved. Some of the latter discrepancy was put right when in 2012 when the Eli Young Band gained a country chart topper with their cover of his song “Even If it Breaks Your Heart”. The song also gained Hoge nominations at the CMA, ACM and Grammy Awards, and a bunch of prime gigs as he got to play Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry and The Late Show with David Letterman.


Hoge’s progressive music though strong, and able to hold its own against anyone more than anything are his superbly crafted stories, he certainly tells a good one. Uncomplicated in presentation, even the complex ones that deal with emotions of the heart and the ways of human nature it is still easy to digest, and with his distinctive style he places his music on a higher shelf. It could be said he is just now really hitting his stride. He certainly feels re-energised after admitting to falling out of love with music and playing in a band, now he feels more in control and Anchors demonstrates creative.


Of the 11 tracks none come any finer than killer evocative love ballad “This Grand Charade”, a song about a couple growing apart the story is an all too familiar one. Stripped down, as is the album in general his lyrics are gently warmed in guitar, piano (Dave Cohen) and mandolin, and with the above lost love ballad behind him he gives hope to those experiencing a similar slipping away feel as the couple in the song work on getting this life back on track on “Little Bit Of Rust” (Sheryl Crow figures strongly on harmony vocals). The album has one or two songs that speak of a relationship falling apart, and in some cases marooned on the rocks as Hoge dips into people’s fears and everyday lives! After a couple of average efforts he is back on the winning trail with “Through Missing You” and full bodied ode “Angel Wings”. This as he is given the jolt needed to realise he was allowing his life to drift without any real purpose (Kaplan’s pedal steel work colours the lyrics beautifully), and with his vocals possessing a rich timbre the listener can’t but help been dragged into the song’s scenario. A co-write with Randall, I wonder if that is noted singer-songwriter  Jon Randall? 


While the title track is solid, and arguably a slow burner his talent is seen in better light on image evoking “17”, and with him inevitably at his best when the music doesn’t encroach on his lyrics the song is an excellent balance between Americana and a purer country form.     


Pickers on the record include Jerry Roe (drums, percussion), Dominic Davis (bass), Thom Donovan (electric, acoustic guitar), Brad Rice (electric, acoustic guitar, mandola) and Fats Kaplan (pedal steel guitar) plus Hoge (acoustic, electric guitar, piano, Fender Rhodes, percussion).   


                                                Maurice Hope 

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November 2017

JW Roy & The Royal Family
80 pts.
A Room Full Of Strangers
Royal Family Records
Chris Hillman
79 pts.
Bidin' My Time
Turnpike Troubadours
46 pts.
Long Away From Your Heart
Bossier City Records
Jolie Holland & Samantha Parton
36 pts.
Wildflower Blues
Cinquefoil Records
Eilen Jewell
34 pts.
Down Hearted Blues
Signature Sounds
Lucinda Williams
31 pts.
This Sweet Old World
Highway 20/Thirty Tigers
JD McPherson
29 pts.
Undivided Heart & Soul
New West
Mark Martyre
26 pts.
Tom Russell
26 pts.
Folk Hotel
Frontera Records-Proper Records
Anna Tivel
25 pts.
Small Believer
Fluff And Gravy Records
Margo Price
25 pts.
All American Made
Third Man Records
Fred Wickham
22 pts.
Mariosa Delta
Thirty Days Records
Joe Henry
22 pts.
Ear Music
Whitney Rose
22 pts.
Rule 62
Six Shooter/Thirty Tigers
Dick LeMasters
18 pts.
Incompatible Things
Longneck Road Music
Jim White
18 pts.
Waffles, Triangles & Jesus
Loose Music
Peter Gallway
18 pts.
Feels Like Religion
Gallway Bay Music
Thomm Jutz
17 pts.
Crazy If You Let It
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Kris Delmhorst
16 pts.
The Wild
Blue Blade Records
Daniel Crabtree
15 pts.
In The Shadow Of His Wings
Jeremy Pinnell
15 pts.
Ties Of Blood And Affection
Sofaburn Records
Julien Baker
15 pts.
Turn Out The Lights
Amber Cross
14 pts.
Savage on the Downhill
Chris Blevins
14 pts.
Better than Alone
Horton Records
David Rawlings
14 pts.
Poor David's Almanack
Acony Records
Grainne Duffy
14 pts.
Where I Belong
Jeff Crosby
14 pts.
Postcards From Magdalena
At The Helm Records

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