Will Hoge: The Wreckage

By: Bill Clifford

In August of 2008, a tragic auto accident nearly took the life of Nashville-based singer-songwriter Will Hoge. Other than its title, however, The Wreckage (Rykodisc) makes little reference to the accident, resulting injuries or months of rehabilitation, but is instead a metaphor for hanging on to failed relationships.

In fact, listening to this record, you might conclude Hoge is a broken hearted, lonely soul; seven of the eleven tracks are dour ruminations on failed relationships. The somber but lovely title track relates the story of a man who just can't walk away from a lover, despite realizing that the relationship is at a stalemate. His hushed, raspy vocals convey passion and desire, while melancholic piano and weepy steel guitar suggest bitter heartbreak. "What Could I Do," "Where Do We Go From Down," and "Too Late Too Soon" narrate the same gut wrenching sentiments.

But it's not all tear-in-your-beer heartbreakers. Opener "Hard To Love" is a straight-ahead roots rocker that articulates a strong love for a woman who stood by her man when the going got rough. "Long Gone" is a hard driving country rocker with good old Hank Williams styled twang. And "Highway Wings," replete with plaintive piano and cathartic guitar chords, is the best we-gotta-get-out-of-this-dead-end-town rocker since Bruce Springsteen's "Born To Run."

Hoge sings with a Southern croon that is shamelessly emotional, and despite the dour themes presented on many of the tracks, The Wreckage is a wonderfully cathartic slab of soulful American roots rock.

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[Published on: 12/8/09]

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