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|Written by Agnes Cadieux|
|Wednesday, 27 January 2010 00:00|
After a rocky year of personal struggle, Tennessee native Will Hoge is back and pouring out more of his soulful, bluesy tunes that have been captivating us for nearly a decade. Hoge's seventh masterpiece, The Wreckage, comes on the heels of his tragic scooter accident in 2008 that derailed him from writing and singing for the better part of the year. The record has a genuine feel to it overall and does a good job of bringing out the bitterness of life's wrong turns as well as celebration of its triumphs.
His sound can be compared to those of Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, with a layered emotional depth often found in country music. The Wreckage brings us 11 new songs that take us from that brusque rock feeling of a wounded ego to the quiet melancholy of someone who has teetered on the edge. While most of his songs remain true to the country-rock sound he is known for, there are a few songs that stand apart from the rest and give the album an authenticity that would otherwise be missing.
Hoge's title track is a deep, heartfelt song that offers a sense of stillness and reflection. The lyrics are poignant and riddled with a reluctant bitterness, yet somehow the message you get from it is that it's all going to be okay. Hoge admits that this is one of his favorite songs and, if it weren't for the accident, he would not have been able to physically bring forth the quietness he needed in his voice to make it work.
Since I am one who enjoys the occasional "stick it to ya!" song, I must admit that the track "Just Like Me" really stood out. The moody, arrogant swing to Hoge's voice is a perfect addition to lyrics that will curl your lip in a little smirk midway through. The slower beat of the drum coupled with some great chords complete this piece and will surely make it a favourite in the barroom as well as the living room.
Finally, I have to give the track "Goodnight/Goodbye" an honourable mention in my category of exceptional songs. Although the lyrics are raw and unrestricted, the beautiful female accompaniment provides an angelic harmony and takes the edge off the otherwise dismal piece. Her voice makes it a real pleasure to listen to.
The album plays out as a tribute to Hoge's journey of rediscovery, which is made evident in his honest lyrics and meaningful melodies. At first glance I thought The Wreckage might be a great CD to cruise to, but, after taking it for a ride, I realized that this is the sort of album you play on a dreary, drizzly day when there is nothing better to do than lie on the couch and let the music take you away. The Wreckage is an excellent album to get your hands on for those days where sinking back under the blankets just seems to make more sense.