Will Hoge stood at a truck stop urinal in Hillsboro, Texas and listened to two truckers singing every word to his song "Even If It Breaks Your Heart" as it played on the radio. It sounds like the setup to a joke waiting for it's punch line, but the Grammy nominated singer-songwriter isn't laughing. "If anything, the mainstream success of 'Even If It Breaks Your Heart' and the CMA and Grammy nominations have inspired me to work even harder and really push myself to another level," said Hoge.
A decade removed from Carousel, his major label release on Atlantic Records, Hoge has struggled with the constant "square peg, round hole" tag much of that time. "Rock radio says we sound too country and country radio says we sound too much like rock & roll," laments Hoge. Therefore, over the span of his last three records on Rykodisc, you could find Will Hoge in the Americana section of your record stores and getting most of his airplay on AAA radio. But 2012 brought significant attention to Will Hoge, the likes of which he'd never seen before. Spending the early part of the year supporting Dierks Bentley's arena headlining tour, Hoge was introduced to his first dose of mainstream country. "I was a little nervous, honestly, because everyone has put labels on what kind of music I make and I didn't know how country fans would react to our music…it was truly amazing. Being on an arena stage each night and getting to showcase what we do in front of thousands of people truly made such an impact and helped broaden our fan base." The fan base of which Hoge speaks is a devoted and diverse group across the U.S. and Canada. Since his first independent record in 2000, he has crisscrossed North America playing as many as 221 shows in one year. Hoge's stage shows are equal ingredients of sweat, charisma and rock & roll revival…often culminating with him in the middle of an audience singing an encore while standing on a patrons table, a soundboard or a bar. Anthony Kuzminski of The Screen Door said, "At any given moment, Will Hoge may be one of the hardest working live performers on the road and anyone who has seen him would argue he's one of the best."
After a near fatal traffic accident in 2008, Will Hoge spent nine months recuperating at home. The break provided him time to write what became his 2009 release The Wreckage. The album's lead single, "Even If It Breaks Your Heart" did well on Americana and AAA radio (staying in some station playlists for almost six months), but also caught the ear of a young country band from Texas, The Eli Young band. "I was out on the road opening for my friends in the band Shinedown and Mike Eli called me to tell me they had just cut "Even If It Breaks Your Heart and I was thrilled," Hoge remembers. Recording the song proved to be a wise choice for the young band, as it ascended to the top of the country charts and peaked at #1 in August 2012. While raising Hoge's profile as a hit songwriter, the song also introduced his music and records to a broader audience. "I did a short solo tour in December and it was great to see people who had heard 'Even If It Breaks Your Heart' and latched on to my stuff…I saw a lot of new faces in the crowd that will now be my fans because of it."
Believing that idle hands are the devils work, Hoge entered the studio once again in November 2012 to begin work on what will become his soon-to-be released 9th studio record. With such a diverse radio and touring background Will Hoge has cemented himself as a mainstay in both worlds and hopes to continue that build into 2013. He said, "I honestly don't know how I could have a better year than 2012, but I'm sure gonna try."