Will Hoge The Wreckage

As the icons of heartland rock'n'roll (Springsteen, Mellencamp, Petty) reach pension-eligible age, there's clearly room for heirs to that tradition. Will Hoge certainly fits the bill, and this hardworking Nashville, TN-based troubadour advances his case here. It's pretty easy to play "spot the influence" with his music. On opening cut "Hard To Love," Hoge sounds like Bob Seger, while the next song, "Long Gone," has a Petty-like feel. He gradually wins you over with the conviction in his voice and tunes that range from heartfelt ballads ("Too Late Too Soon," "Goodnight/Goodbye") to driving roots rock numbers. Co-producers Ken Coomer (Wilco) and Charlie Brocco, and mixer Jim Scott (Petty, Johnny Cash) help Hoge come up with a crisp and clean, yet not slick, sound. In the midst of recording this album, Hoge was seriously injured in a traffic accident, but he has emerged from that wreckage with a solid accomplishment. (Rykodisc)