Home Read Albums Of The Week: Will Hoge | Wings On My Shoes

Albums Of The Week: Will Hoge | Wings On My Shoes

The roots-rock journeyman puts his best foot forward on this raw, real release.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Wings On My Shoes marks yet another milestone on Will Hoge’s two-decade-plus musical journey, an already remarkable career that has seen him logging countless miles on the road and crafting an ongoing body of work that has earned acclaim from far and wide, a Grammy nomination for Best Country Song and an intensely loyal worldwide fan following.

Produced by Hoge during a week’s worth of live performances at Nashville’s Sound Emporium Studios, Wings On My Shoes — which sees Hoge joined by his longtime backing combo, guitarist Thom Donovan, drummer Allen Jones and bassist Christopher Griffiths, with guest multi-instrumentalist Joshua Grange contributing pedal steel and organ — features few overdubs and zero studio trickery, wearing its rough edges with pride to stand tall as a document of a hardscrabble band at work, sweating and stomping its way toward rock ’n’ roll redemption.

Written largely during the pandemic era, Wings On My Shoes is, at its core, a testament to Hoge’s renowned gifts as a songwriter, highlighting the diverse perspectives of an expert craftsman whose songs turn Southern storytelling into universal sentiment. From the jubilant jangle of It’s Just You and the furious All I Can Take — the latter an inspired blast of bar-band bombast recorded in a single take — to the stunning, string-laced The Last One To Go and the desperate narrative drive of Dead Man’s Hand, Hoge distills American roots music to its essential ingredients, carrying the torch for an enduring blue collar sound rooted in ringing guitars, anthemic songcraft, and steadfast lyrical integrity.

“I always want to embrace change,” Hoge says, “to accept new things artistically, but at the end of the day, I can try to run from this idea that I love good, guitar-based rock ’n’ roll music or I can wear that badge of honor. I’m in the ‘wearing the badge of honor’ phase now.”