Will Hoge's 'Number Seven'
- Article by: Daryln Sanders
- Posted: 09/27/2011
Number Seven, Will Hoge’s just-released seventh album, finds the singer-songwriter in a reflective mood after fully recovering from a 2008 motor scooter accident which almost claimed his life.
Hoge is best-known for his personal brand of heartland rock & roll — and there is plenty of that on Number Seven. “Too Old To Die Young,” which features some distinctive slide guitar work and the poignant chorus “too old now to die young,” is not autobiographical, but nevertheless stands as a statement about Hoge’s own rock & roll survival.
In addition to his trademark rockers, Hoge also sprinkles in a bit of country here and there. He adds pedal steel to a trio of songs which would sound at home on contemporary country radio — “American Dream,” “Goddam California” and “No Man’s Land,” the latter featuring the classic refrain, “She’s like fine wine/ I’m like whiskey from a jar/ Doesn’t make no sense/ She’s from Venus, I’m from Mars.”
The album closes with the soulful ballad, “When I Get My Wings,” featuring some moving vocal work by Hoge which echoes the great Otis Redding and Memphis-inspired horn parts.
The performances throughout the record’s 11 tracks are tight and inspired. Hoge’s vocals are superb and he assembled some top-flight musicians to accompany him, including former Wilco drummer Ken Coomer, guitarists Pat Buchanan, Kenny Vaughn, Kenny Greenberg and Keith Gaddis, pedal steel standout Bucky Baxter and legendary reed man Jim Horn.
On Number Seven, Hoge’s musical artistry and songwriting are more focused and mature, and as a result, this is arguably his finest record. But as good as the album is, Hoge seems to be just hitting his stride, leaving the listener with the impression the best this hard-working artist has to offer may be yet to come.