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Will Hoge familiarizes Birmingham (Review, photos & video: backstage performance & interview)

Will Hoge
WorkPlay
Birmingham, AL
March 22, 2012

 

 

If the name Will Hoge doesn’t ring any bells, then it’s time for you to get familiar.  No, he isn’t the newest up-and-coming artist on the music scene. Hoge’s been a touring musician for well over a decade, having recently performed on the famous stages of the Grand Ole Opry and Jimmy Kimmel Live.  Nevertheless, his star seems to be eluding the spotlight.  While at first glance he may seem like just another Nashville singer-songwriter, but to experience his music in person can be life changing and often, revelation inducing.

This revelatory feeling is something that is familiar to the artist himself, who in 2008 was involved in a life threatening crash when leaving a recording studio in Nashville where he was working on an album that, in an eerie twist of irony, was to be titled The Wreckage. Since then, there has been an extra measure of magic in what was previously quite the enchanting experience already.

Music lovers leaving his concerts more often than not pose the burning question, “Why in the hell is this guy not famous?”  Find him, experience him live, and see if you don’t leave with the same inquiry lingering on your lips.

To describe his sound may seem like a simple task, with most of his songs striking a balance between country and rock and roll, but to delve a bit further into his sound one uncovers distinct flavors of blues, gospel and loads of soul. While his sound alone is raw, emotional perfection, his storytelling ability takes his resonance soaring to another stratosphere.

Will brought all of his musical fortitude to the eclectic crowd of diehard fans at  Birmingham’s WorkPlay Theatre on a recent Thursday night.

Preceded by his younger brother, Josh, who was thrilled to perform for the crowd, but also admitted he would have been there anyway, being that big of a Will fan.

The older Hoge was joined by his band mates on the quaint stage, adorned by a large tapestry proudly exhibiting his new album, Number Seven. The hardworking man wiped the sweat from his brow and cranked down on his set.

Opening with “Favorite Waste of Time,” the heavy rock feel and solid beats were so full of electricity that the crowd poured onto the floor from both levels of seats.

Will continued the raucous start with “Sex, Lies, and Money,” taking a firm power stance to jam out the song. The guys were keeping to the upbeat, rock-heavy tunes, blending spiraling electric guitar licks with thick vocals while the crowd ate it up and sang along.

Old favorites like “Ms. Williams” and “All Night Long,” as well and some new releases from the latest — and quite possibly his best release to date, the aforementioned Number Seven —  such as “Too Old to Die Young” set diverse enough for anyone in attendance to develop a strong taste for the flavor.

While Hoge no doubt proved that he can do wild and boisterous flawlessly, but perhaps his most memorable moments come from when he strips his sound down to acoustic simplicity and his secret weapon: that voice.

Hoge stated that his longest running relationship in life was with his acoustic guitar, so naturally when the two got together, the chemistry was evident. The crowd swooned as he performed “Baby Girl,” a duet he originally recorded with Michelle Branch. Switching to piano and harmonica for “Afford to Lose,” he demonstrated his infinite dynamic and vocal range.

The biggest highlight of the night came as Will stepped away from the microphone, closed his eyes, and sang his new painfully emotional ballad, “When I Get My Wings” soulfully into the mesmerized audience. Accompanied by the soft chords of a lone guitar, Will and his unforgettably raspy voice paced the stage. Only the subtle clinking of bottles and the appreciative encouragement of the crowd broke through the moment before the song concluded with its powerful, bluesy shuffle.

The group encored with an obvious fan favorite, “Pocket Full of Change”, which pokes a little fun at the band for not being more well known.

The crowd left the venue with a smile, questioning why the group hasn’t reached a higher level of fame, but proud to be in on music’s little secret.

 

Setlist

 

Favorite Waste of Time , Sex, Lies, and Money, Too Old to Die Young, Baby Girl,  Afford to Lose, Ms. Williams, Fool’s Gonna Fly, Just Like Me, Not That Cool, Another Song Nobody Will Hear, Trying to be a Man, Even if it Breaks Your Heart, When I Get My Wings, Goddam California, All Night Long, Pocket Full of Change, Highway’s Home

 

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO:

Will Hoge: Live, Backstage, Unplugged & Interviewed “Silver or Gold”

(scroll down for more photos from the show)

 

Click the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the show by Brian DeGaetano

 

For more on Will Hoge: www.WillHoge.com

 

 

 

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