Will Hoge Exclusive Tour Diary No. 1: Pozo, Spokane, Yakima + More With Dierks Bentley
Will Hoge is not a country artist per se, but rather is a Nashville-based singer-songwriter in his own right who has found a second home in country music thanks to his knack for writing good songs and his warm, open heart. Hoge is credited with penning Eli Young Band‘s hit single, ‘Even if It Breaks Your Heart,’ and is currently on the Country and Cold Cans Tour with both EYB and headliner Dierks Bentley.
In the past, Hoge has opened shows for Sugarland and performed alongside Keith Urban and Sheryl Crow — not to mention the handful of invites he’s gotten to perform at the Grand Ole Opry — so he’s certainly no stranger to the genre, even if he is a newcomer. His brand new album, ‘Number Seven,’ was just released to iTunes.
In a blog post written exclusively for Taste of Country, Hoge shares his adventures from the road with his new friends and country music family. Will Hoge writes:
So I’m working on getting myself back on a central standard time schedule. Just wrapped up the west coast leg of the Country and Cold Cans Tour with Dierks Bentley and Eli Young Band. What a pleasure it’s been thus far. As first of three bands on these big arena tours, it often happens that you get the proverbial ‘short end of the stick’ as far as sound/lighting, soundchecks, and just general treatment all around. Certainly not the case here. Dierks and his crew have gone above and beyond to make sure the band and I are well taken care of. As have the EYB fellas too. We started in LA at the Nokia Theater. LA is tough (and if you know me at all you know I’ve had my issues with it!) but these last couple trips have helped me out a lot with that town. It was a great and receptive crowd. I got to meet Eric Stonestreet (Cam from Modern Family) which got me major brownie points with the wife back home and maybe even helped make it ok that I stuck her alone at home with 2 kids for 2 weeks. Sorry babe.
Next we hit Pozo California for the Pozo Stampede. This was an outdoor shindig in this old abandoned mining town. It was a blast – such nice people. Special thanks to Pepper Daniels and the folks at KJUG for helping us out. From there Dierks and the EYB fellas flew to Alaska. Us, with no tour support, drove to Portland for a solo headlining show. It was fun. Great little room called Mississippi Studios. It was nice to get to stretch out and do a full show rather than just the 30 mins we’ve been doing the rest of the tour.
Next was Spokane which was back with the other two bands for more arena festivities. Another great night. The band and I tried our playing without a mic trick we do sometimes on clubs and theaters. Ooooops! Note to self: 5000 capacity arenas full of folks ready to rock is NOT the place for this!! Ok. Got it. We always use the NASCAR mentality which is ‘folks don’t come to see you race, they come because you MIGHT crash. Well, this was a crash! Luckily the rest of the show made up for it, I think. Plus all the folks at the meet and greet afterwards seemed to have nothing but good things to say. So the band and I discussed some changes in our approach to these arena shows. It’s just so very different than the clubs or even theaters that we’ve gotten used to playing in. I feel like it worked because Missoula, MT was the next show and the first ever standing ovation we’ve gotten in an arena. Definitely something I will always remember. It was nice to feel like we’d finally gotten our legs under us a bit with these bigger stages and bigger crowds. It was Cassady’s (Dierks’ bass player) birthday. There was a little get together afterwards that was fun for all 3 bands. We got him a cupcake-cake that was all pink and frilly with a light up princess that said “Happy Birthday Cassidie”. Yeah. We know it’s spelled wrong and he’s NOT a girl. That’s just how band dudes say happy birthday and I love you to one another.
Next came Yakima, which was another great show – super enthusiastic crowd. Plus I just loved getting to say ‘Yakima’ as much as humanly possible. Spent record store day in Seattle. Did an in-store performance at Silver Platters which was a very cool record store. Make sure and support these folks when y’all can. Don’t think any of us would be here if it weren’t for record stores when we were growing up. Dierks did an in-store too and had Mike McCready from Pearl Jam sit in. Which means he won! I couldn’t even get my own guitar player to sit in with me. Ouch. So I jumped off stage after playing a song with EYB and caught a redeye back home to Nashville. Gotta plan a birthday party for my soon to be 5 year old.
Check back in for more updates next week as we head to the northeast on the Country and Cold Cans tour.