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Will Hoge, ‘Strong’ – Song Review

Strong
Rykodisc Records

Will Hoge is a new name to most mainstream country fans, but the singer-songwriter has been at it as long as any star on the radio. There’s gritty experience in his voice as he patiently gets through his new song ‘Strong.’ One quickly finds himself remembering a father, grandfather or uncle who spoke through his actions.

The acoustic feel of this track is balanced by a slight echo on Hoge’s voice. The result is an even more compelling resonance. Hoge doesn’t boom or bellow or croon. He tells a story with a spit-and-gravel, rock delivery that’s something like a mix of Seger and Mellencamp after a few shots of bourbon.

He’s a twenty year straight get to work on time / He’s a love one woman for all his life  / He’s a shirt off his back give you his last dime / He’s strong,” he sings to open ‘Strong.’ You know this guy. We all know this guy and admire his work ethic. He’s the first to volunteer and the last to complain.

He’s a need to move something you can use my truck  / He’s an overtime worker when the bills pile up / Everybody knows he aint just tough / He’s strong.”

‘Strong’ was chosen for Chevrolet’s new advertising campaign, so regardless of whether or not radio picks this song up, it’s sure get plenty of recognition. Perhaps Hoge cut it for the car company, but his genuine performance indicates otherwise. A younger man may rush through the subtleties of the message, but Hoge lingers just long enough to leave an impression.

He’ll pick you up and won’t let you down / Rock solid inside out  / Somebody you can trust / Steady as the sun / Ain’t nothing gonna knock him off the road he’s rollin on / He’s strong,” he sings during each chorus.

This type of songs tends to elicit emotional responses from fans — and for good reason. The key to a great country song is striking that nerve without compromising musical integrity. Hoge does that.

4.5 Stars

Listen to Will Hoge, ‘Strong’

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