First Listen: Will Hoge duet with Sheryl Crow – “Little Bit of Rust”

Will HogeWill Hoge has slogged his way through years of van tours, bar shows and others having more success with his songs than his own band. He’s made some freakin’ great Americana rock and roll albums, including his most recent record Small Town Dreams. His shows are killer; a Telecaster-infused Memphis rock and roll blast.

Through it all, the consistent theme seems to have been that Will Hoge is just one of those guys who is better than people realize, meaning he may be in a van playing the 800-seaters for years.

But he’s smart. And his songwriting reflects it. You like Petty? Dig into Will Hoge. Shouldn’t be that tough.

And his new song, “Little Bit of Rust” from his forthcoming album Anchor brings Nashville neighbor Sheryl Crow into the mix, with a duet that blends the harmonies with a surprisingly biting electric guitar.  It’s a song that pairs his endearing and enduring grit with  a partner who might just raise his profile, even if that’s not his intention.

Read the Rolling Stone story about the partnership here.

Roots/Rock Notes: BoDeans, Otis Gibbs, Will Hoge

First, let’s share a quick photo:Indiana’s Otis Gibbs was at the Grand Ole Opry, and snuck backstage while Ricky Skaggs and Deirks Bentley were on stage to snap a stealth photo.

Some new music news from two longtime bands that Indianapolis roots-rock fans have supported as well as any city has:

Will Hoge’s new single “When I Get My Wings” was unveiled this week, from his upcoming record Number Seven. That album will be available on September 27th. The single, a soulful, Stax-rific piece of Hoge soul, hit radio August 1st.

Will Hoge – “When I Get My Wings” by Rykodisc

“The song was inspired by a story I read in the Tennessean obituaries about a lady who had passed away and left her husband behind,” Hoge told American Songwriter. “They were married for like 60 years or something. I just started thinking about what the husband must have gone through, trying to make sense of living life without her.”

“The original version was a bluegrass song that came together in probably an hour or so,” remembers Hoge. “The story and lyrics remained the same, but the final version was re-written and re-recorded the final day of tracking. So, in some ways I guess it took an hour to start and a year to finish.”

The BoDeans (Sam Llanas and Kurt Neumann) co-wrote all 13 songs on their new release Indigo Dreams. Michael Ramos (keyboards), Bukka Allen (accordion), Kenny Aronoff and Noah Levy (drums) also play on the record. Similar in style to their three most recent studio albums, Resolution, Still and Mr. Sad Clown.

BoDeans – “Blowin’ My Mind” (from KINK Radio in Portland, OR)

Will Hoge comes to Indy as Shinedown opener; DBT next album announced

Will Hoge

Roots-rocker Will Hoge stopped by WTTS’ Studio 92 on Monday to play an acoustic set before he headed to the Murat for a show with the band Shinedown. The radio station is usually pretty good about adding live performances to their website for on-demand play – it wasn’t there as of Tuesday night but should be soon, based on their track record of posting audio.

It will almost a year to the day of his Hoge’s last appearance in Indy, for his 2009 tour-ending show at Radio Radio. (read my review of show)

In October, he released an EP titled The Living Room Sessions, a quickie album recorded in two days in Hoge’s living room. It includes songs from his recent full-band effort The Wreckage, including alternate versions of “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” and “Favorite Waste of Time”.

“I like acoustic recordings that try to be different from the album versions,” Hoge told a reporter from the Charleston City Paper. “We didn’t try 50 different arrangements or anything. It was really fun. It was a step closer to the ‘you get what you get’ mentality.”

Will Hoge – from current tour – “Even If It Breaks Your Heart”


It has been less than a year since the Drive-By Truckers released The Big To-Do, and already have announced a February 15, 2011 release for their next record, titled Go-Go Boots. It will feature songs recorded during the same session.

Drive-By Truckers

“We recorded nearly 40 songs last year and into this year, and fairly early on divided it into two separate albums,” said DBT frontman Patterson Hood in a news release. “The Big To-Do was the more straightforward rock album (and) Go-Go Boots is what I refer to as our country, soul and murder ballad album.”

Remembering the Elms before their farewell show

For their final show before the group disbands, The Elms have sold out Radio Radio this Friday night (July 30). The group that broke out of Seymour as a Christian band and went on to make vibrant, heartfelt and truly midwestern rock and roll is calling it quits for reasons a bit ambiguous, and finish their run with this final Indianapolis show.

According to their Facebook page, the show will be filmed in HD, using multiple cameras. Singer Owen Thomas writes on his blog that “we’re kicking around several ideas for the footage, which range from a complete concert film to a documentary about the cumulative 10-year experience of The Elms.”

There is a terrific blog by Dan Ficker at where Thomas addresses questions surrounding the group breaking up. In the interview, The Elms’ lead singer said it was just a feeling that things should stop. Continue reading “Remembering the Elms before their farewell show”