November 23 - November 24, 2012
Will Hoge has made a career of writing and singing powerful songs about life’s cruel and dark turns. Not long ago, he fell victim to one such turn. As Hoge rode his scooter home from the studio, he was struck by an oncoming van that had veered into his lane. There were no skid marks. Launched off his bike, Hoge ended up bloodied, broken-boned, temporarily blinded, and near death. “[The accident] was like stopping a record as it spins,” says Hoge, who had been halfway through recording material for his new record before getting derailed. “It was like taking the needle and pushing it off the turntable.” For ten months, the accident sidelined Hoge. For ten months, it made him do something he hadn’t done in 18 years: stop the music. Larger matters dominated his life, like physical recovery and the well-being of his family. “People would say, ‘I bet you’re ready to get back to playing and writing.’ I’m thinking, ‘Playing or singing is not the issue right now. I’m ready to get back to walking.’”
Born and raised in Tennessee, songwriter Will Hoge made his name honing a blend of soulful Americana and heartland rock & roll. After spending his childhood in the Nashville suburb of Franklin, he left Tennessee to study history at Western Kentucky University. Music drew him back home, however, and he relocated to Nashville to assemble a band that included former Georgia Satellites guitarist Dan Baird. Hoge then cut his teeth on the Southern bar circuit and issued a live release, 1999's All Night Long, before inking a deal with Atlantic Records. With the label's support, he entered Memphis' famed Ardent Studios to record his official debut, Carousel, with engineer John Hampton (the Replacements, Gin Blossoms). The album was released in 2000, and Blackbird on a Lonely Wire followed in 2003 (albeit without Baird, who'd left due to the band's demanding tour schedule). Record sales were slim, though, and Hoge found himself receiving minimal attention from his label. Requesting release from his contract, Hoge was made a free agent.
Following his departure from the Atlantic roster, Hoge combined a relentless tour schedule with a string of independent releases, from live albums and brief EPs to a full-fledged studio effort (2006's The Man Who Killed Love). Rykodisc took note of Hoge's work, particularly his 200-plus shows per year, and signed the artist. Draw the Curtains, Hoge's fourth studio album and first effort for Rykodisc, was released in October 2007, followed by -- what else? -- an aggressive fall tour. Recording sessions for another record began in 2008, but work was temporarily postponed on August 20th, when a scooter accident left Hoge severely injured. Months of physical therapy followed. Hoge focused on his recovery for the remainder of 2008, eventually returning to the studio project in 2009 and releasing The Wreckage later that year. ~ Andrew Leahey, Rovi