Monday, October 13, 2014

Will Hoge "Middle Of America" Single Review

     Will Hoge had been teetering on the edge of mainstream relevancy for years before having a big radio smash when the Eli Young Band recorded his song "Even If It Breaks Your Heart".  Then, Will's own voice was heard as the spokesperson for Chevrolet with their ad campaign that featured his song "Strong".  Will was already a know commodity in the independent/underground world, but now the rest of the world was hearing him for the first time.  Will Hoge has a chance to grow his name even more with his fantastic new single "Middle of America", that many will relate to and enjoy.

     "Middle of America" is a nice introspective look at small town life mixed in with a rocking beat and a driving melody.  The lyrics of the song look at the good and bad aspects of the small town experience.  Small towns are certainly part of the country cliche machine right now, but that is where this song is strong, in my opinion.  The use of small town imagery will allow it to fit right in on radio playlists that are terrified of anything unique or different, but the song is well written enough to still make a point and represent country music in a positive manner.  The song goes back and forth between different narratives going on at any given time in various towns in America, and celebrates the struggles, emotions, and dreams of people scattered throughout Middle America.

     Musically, this song is exactly what we know and love from Will Hoge.  There is a fine line between good ole fashioned American rock and roll and gritty, loud country music, and Will struts up and down that line with ease.  He has the storytelling aspect to his songs of a Steve Earle with the rock edge of John Mellencamp or Bruce Springsteen.  It's an easy comparison to make, but this song is really reminiscent of a modern day "Little Pink Houses".  I know, that's lazy, but its true.  Its just edgy enough to be interesting and just safe enough to be a hit.

     "Middle of America" isn't Will Hoge's best song (a testament to him, not a knock on the song), but is one of the most commercially friendly songs he has ever recorded.  The best news about that is that he didn't sacrifice quality to make that leap.  "Middle of America" will probably build on the positive momentum that Will had been piling up the past few years and make some waves on mainstream radio.  "Middle of America" is a pretty darn good song, and hopefully a springboard for the career of a very talented and well-deserving artist.

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