Will Hoge – Tiny Little Movies
Nashville’s Grammy-nominated Will Hoge has a nice gruff, yet articulate voice filled with authenticity. He provides a rich rootsy, southern soul showcase. If Tom Petty sang with a more sand-papery vocal this would be his domain. Hoge is in that club with Otis Taylor, Jon Dee Graham, & Buddy Miller.
Will has the melodies & he may not be as gutsy as the others, but he inhabits tone with authority. “The Overthrow,” is more rock-infused. Injected with vintage Garland Jeffreys type soul. A driving tight band with slingshot snare pops & a nice shift in the arrangement keep this track exciting & fiery.
Hoge seems conflicted with being rootsy here & having a Mick Jagger swagger. Not authentic.
The 11-track 13th LP Tiny Little Movies (drops June 26 – Edlo Records/Thirty Tigers) has its moments of creativity & emulation but thankfully seldom nose dives into cliché or bombastic regions. Will tends to follow the musical recipe to the letter as he does with “Maybe This Is OK.” A bit rudimentary, elementary yet I must admit there’s a likeability to the tune.
However, it’s to Will’s credit that his voice possesses a cool soulful tone. “Is This All That You Wanted Me For?” It’s mid-tempo, the drama is genuine. Instruments tied together with a tight razor-sharp groove. Even when Will growls, he maintains the song’s dynamic. Great vocal track.
Hoge has many credible songs & writes with a creative flare far wider than most. His spare band provides solid support: lead guitar, drums & bass with Will’s guitar. “My Worst” features what sounds like good twin lead guitars. But the first guitar is buried in the mix. The second like a good Allman Brother’s attack surfaces & comes through with heft. But the guitar interplay could’ve been excellent if that first guitar wasn’t buried.
The most exciting part in “My Worst,” for me came with the female vocalist who excels & added soulful fire. I still like the song it just needs some tweaking, a remix.
Graham Parker haunts “That’s How You Lose Her,” & “The Curse.” It’s loaded with Parker inflections, intonations & phrasing but Hoge pulls it off with a dazzling style.
“Con Man Blues,” is retro Mutzie. No one’s ever heard of Mutzie but that’s what this sounds like from 1970’s “The Light of Your Shadow.” Not an attractive sound.
But then Will does “Likes of You.” This is where Will Hoge belongs. Excellent.
A perceptive producer next time? Not all artists excel at that task. I still enjoyed the LP & Will is an interesting talented artist.
The LP was produced by Will & is available at https://www.willhoge.com/