Artist Profile: Will Hoge
NAME: William Hoge
HOMETOWN: Franklin, Tennessee
SOUND: Heartland country rock.
BIOGRAPHY: Growing up just south of Nashville in the town of Franklin, Will developed a passion for music early in life through the extensive record collection of his father and uncles. His father was also a musician, but initially that wasn’t in Will’s plan. Instead he attended Western Kentucky University to study history, planning to become a high school history teacher and basketball coach, but upon realising that he did indeed want to follow in his father’s footsteps, he left the university and began writing music. In 1997 he released an EP of original music with his band Spoonful, but they eventually disbanded through lack of traction and Will became a solo artist. He joined forces with guitarist Dan Baird and began touring around the south, self-releasing a live album and then later his first solo studio album ‘Carousel’ in 2001. He signed to Atlantic Records in 2002 who re-released ‘Carousel’, and this was quickly followed by another album, ‘Blackbird On A Lonely Wire’, which was more commercial-sounding but failed to be promoted properly by the label. Will asked to be released from his contract soon after.
He then went on a spree of releasing records. Two live albums, an EP and 2006’s studio album ‘The Man Who Killed Love’, before another live album and a collaboration with Rykodisc Records for studio record ‘Draw The Curtains’. Spurred on by successful touring all over the country and a growing loyal fanbase, a scooter accident in 2008 wasn’t enough to keep Will away from the road for more than seven months, and in 2009 they headed out on a 3-week acoustic tour around the country. Straight afterwards they went back into the studio to finish recording 2009’s ‘The Wreckage’, which was again released via Rykodisc and would become his first album to chart (it reached #16 on Billboard’s Heatseeker’s Albums chart). It was this record which featured ‘Even If It Breaks Your Heart’, a co-write with Eric Paslay that would go on to become a massive hit for Eli Young Band and one of the major causes for his commercial breakthrough.
During this time Will was supporting various well-known acts on tour, and appeared on a TV flood relief special for GAC. This increased exposure led to 2011’s ‘Number Seven’ reaching #12 on the Heatseeker’s chart and the music video for ‘When I Get My Wings’ going into rotation on CMT and VH1. Will was also invited to perform on the Grand Ole Opry three times, with Vince Gill backing him on guitar during his debut, and Lady Antebellum decided to cut his song ‘Better Off Now’ on their 2013 album ‘Golden’. During this time he left Rykodisc Records, and signed a songwriting deal with BMG Nashville off the back of mainstream acts cutting old songs of his. ‘Even If It Breaks Your Heart’ ended up netting Will nominations at the CMAs, ACMs and Grammys, and the well-timed release of his album ‘Never Give In’ (via Cumberland Recordings) later in 2013 gave him his first #1 on the Heatseeker’s chart and a peak of #23 on the Top Country Albums chart. It sold 3,000 copies in its first week, while lead single ‘Strong’ was picked up by Chevy for a marketing campaign and took it to just outside the top 40 on country radio. As a result, the album’s follow-up, ‘Small Town Dreams’, sold over 3,700 copies in its first week in April 2015 (reaching #15 on Top Country Albums), while lead single ‘Middle of America’ made the top 60. He is planning to tour in the UK this September.
Check tour dates Here
ALBUMS: Carousel (2001), Blackbird On A Lonely Wire (2003), The Man Who Killed Love (2006), Draw The Curtains (2007), The Wreckage (2009), Number Seven (2011), Never Give In (2013), Small Town Dreams (2015).
KEY TRACKS: Even If It Breaks Your Heart (2009), Strong (2013), Middle of America (2014), When I Get My Wings (2011), Better Off Now (2003), Second Hand Heart (2003)