Will Hoge

"Took a whole lot of miles to know what I know now," sings Will Hoge on
"Growing Up Around Here," the opening track off of his tenth studio album,
Small Town Dreams. "I'm kinda proud of growing up around here." It's been a
whole lot of miles, indeed: miles on the road, driving the bus himself from venue
to venue since the nineties; miles to and from Nashville writing rooms, where
he's spent countless hours penning songs – some for him, some for others;
miles exploring lands outside of his native Franklin, Tennessee, chasing the
spirits of his musical heroes. Roads meet, roads split, roads led to home. This is
the album that follows them all, every twist and turn in Hoge's American
journey – a journey that's positioned him as one of our keenest, most honest
modern storytellers, telling both his tale and ours.
"It's a reflection of where I am currently in my life," says Hoge of Small
Town Dreams, "but also where I grew up, and, ultimately, where I think I'm
going." From the streets of the town where he was raised, to the sidewalks of
cities a hundred times the size, we all have dreams; and these are the stories of
growing up, looking back and passing on those dreams, told as only Hoge can.
Nostalgia, in his hands, is truly magic.
After producing several albums on his own, including 2013's Never Give
In, Hoge partnered with Marshall Altman (Frankie Ballard, Eric Paslay, Matt
Nathanson) on Small Town Dreams, after the idea to work together popped into
his head during one of those late-night drives. Ballard's "Helluva Life" came on
the radio followed by Paslay's "Friday Night," and he was taken by how true to
the artist the production rang. "Neither of those sound like records I would
make, but they both sound so uniquely them," Hoge says. "So I called up
Marshall, at 2 a.m. – he was up in the studio that late. We started the process
right after that. He's part cheerleader, part conductor, part coach, part fan, all
at the same time."
The result is a collection of songs that paint a vivid snapshot of the
American experience – the struggles to overcome the confines of youth; the
perfect cycle of parents watching their children make the same beautiful
mistakes they once did; the feeling when we realize our roots run deeper than
we've ever known. The partnership with Altman (as well as a guest appearance
from Vince Gill on guitar) bred a sound that's both crisp and raw, letting the
lyrics and unforgettable melodies shine while never casting too much of a gloss
on Hoge's signature raspy bellow.
An extremely prolific songwriter with ten albums under his belt and
countless songs written for others (including a Grammy nomination for Eli
Young Band's number-one hit, "Even If Breaks Your Heart," co-written with
Paslay), Hoge saw this next phase of his journey as an opportunity to explore
even deeper into both his country and rock & roll roots. Never fitting
particularly neatly into a genre box, he's always just made the music that
moved him – but it's safe to say that he feels more kinship with the country
community than ever, particularly as a storyteller.
That's my favorite thing about the genre itself," he says. "That's what I
love most. Country music is the only genre left telling anybody's stories
anymore."
Those stories are part of what has made Hoge a vital force in fan's lives
who have followed him across the country and seen countless shows – his
songs speak to the reality of all our experiences, delivered in a way that is
honest, true and ever changing. There's no musical formula here or
predictability to seeing Hoge live – whether opening for the likes of Eli Young
Band or Dierks Bentley, or playing his own sold-out dates, he can stir up
somber, acoustic moments in one turn and then spring a hard-rocking,
plugged-in number the next. "The magic happens in the unsafe moments," he
says.
There's safety, however, in Hoge's words, as he documents the mystery in
our future and the security of our past. It's human experience he studies, and
connecting with the listener is part of what makes it all worthwhile for Hoge.
"I tell these stories about me, or a friend, or an experience," he explains,
"and to have someone come up to me and say, 'that's exactly how I felt,' or 'your
songs helped me through a tough time,' that's the ultimate compliment."
Take "Middle of America," which opens with a simple, sweet guitar strum
and ushers into a full-fledged rock-country anthem with a rollicking heartbeat –
it's about the moments, both perfect and flawed, that unite us all. Or "Guitar or
a Gun," that tells the story of a young boy, a few dollars in hand, facing a
pivotal decision at the local pawnshop: should he buy a guitar, or a gun? "One
can feed your family, and one will end you up in jail. He seemed to know which
one was which but me, I couldn't tell," Hoge sings in impossibly vivid
storytelling that's one part Bruce Springsteen, one part Bob Dylan, one part
Hank Williams. And then there's the closer, "Till I Do It Again," that's as much
The Clash as a country romp, showcasing the best of the special hybrid that
Hoge hits with every lick.
The title of the album, Small Town Dreams, was inspired by a photo that
Hoge found while visiting his mother back in Franklin – a picture of him as a
child, riding bikes with a group of neighborhood kids in the field behind his
house. "We're the most non-threating small-town gang ever," he laughs. "It's
this real innocent photo, and everybody's smiling and happy. I started thinking
about all the people I had lost contact with, and how, at that age, everybody in
that photo truly believed they could do anything they wanted to, and that those
sort of small town dreams are possible."
But when those photos and yearbooks of our youth have been lost in the
piles, and the yellowed pages of newsprint has disintegrated into dust, we'll still
have our stories: and Hoge turns those stories into song, into melodies that last
far longer than any etched or snapped record. Will Hoge, the man, is many
things. A husband, a father, a survivor, a devoted small-town son who credits
much of his love of music to his rock 'n' roll loving dad. Will Hoge, the artist,
belongs to us all – a storyteller first and foremost, charting and living our Small
Town Dreams.

Red Wanting Blue

Red Wanting Blue is proudly based in Columbus, Ohio, but could be America's local band. For years, singer and songwriter Scott Terry has gone about logging thousands of miles throughout the nation's heartland, leading the group through hundreds of shows and making fans one at a time.

With positive word of mouth following the band from town to town and an unwavering ambition to keep on traveling, Red Wanting Blue soon developed an exceedingly devoted following in and around the Midwest, where Red Wanting Blue began selling out clubs typically reserved for national names.

In 2010, following several self-released albums, Red Wanting Blue signed its first record deal and in 2012 released From The Vanishing Point (Fanatic Records/Caroline/Capitol) which went on to debut in the Top 10 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, and earn press from Rolling Stone and NPR and appearances on VH1 and The Late Show with David Letterman.

Touring in support of From The Vanishing Point in 2013 has brought Red Wanting Blue to the rest of the US and Canada, where Terry's passionate and poetic songs, anchored by his powerful baritone, let the band's newest fans in on tunes that could only have been written by a man who has lived life on the road.

Traveling with Terry are band mates Mark McCullough (Bass Guitar, Vocals), Greg Rahm (Keys, Guitars, Organ, Vocals), Eric Hall, Jr. (Guitars, Lap Steel, Mandolin, Banjo, Vocals) and Dean Anshutz (Drums, Percussion, Glockenspiel), who together build this band's unshakable sound.

Red Wanting Blue is currently recording the follow-up to From The Vanishing Point and will launch a nationwide tour in the fall of 2013 ahead of a projected new album release in 2014.

$22.50 - $25.00

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