Tennessee native Will Hoge has amassed an impressive catalog of county-edged roots rock beginning with the 2001 release of Carousel through 2015’s Small Town Dreams. His gritty, powerful vocals and honest, poignant lyrics have made him one of the most respected singer-songwriters in the business. With the release of his tenth full length studio album Anchors (expected August 11th) Hoge employs every weapon in his vast musical arsenal to deliver what may be his finest work yet.
The aptly titled release is a relationship album with emotional anchors as the overlying theme in each of the eleven tracks; the anchors that keep you from drifting away from a good relationship as well as the ones that render you unable or unwilling to move away from a bad one. Anchors pulls you in right away with the first song, “The Reckoning” with its slow, deliberate percussion and guitar mimicking the process of coming to terms with the inevitable. “This Grand Charade” is a heartbreaking account of a couple, whose marriage is essentially over, keeping up appearances for the sake of their kids. “Cold Night In Santa Fe” is a smoldering, piano-driven track about the pain of watching a once happy relationship slip away while “Angels Wings” hits all the right country notes sonically and lyrically as it gives voice to anyone trying to rise above the personal shortcomings and flaws that can sabotage every attempt at lasting love. The title track delves into the baggage we carry from the darker periods of our nation’s past that influence the current discourse.
The lighter tracks on the record are no less well-written and relatable. “Little Bit of Rust”, a strong duet that features Sheryl Crow, talks of love worth holding on to through the rough patches while “This Ain’t An Original Sin” is a playful rocker giving a wink and a nod to giving in to the occasional casual fling. Hoge deftly channels Van Morrison and takes us back to younger days and first loves in “17”.
If you’re unfamiliar with Hoge’s music, Anchors will be a perfect introduction. The album is available for pre-order on Amazon and iTunes and while you’re there, check out his other releases. Visit his website at www.willhoge.com to learn more about this artist and find out when he’ll be touring near you.