It was a real treat to see Will Hoge perform earlier this week as he passed through Los Angeles for an early set at the Mint. A treat because it reminded me what a terrific, if over-exposed roots rocker he is. It was also good to see that the Nashville-based musician was still just alive and kicking after being hit last year by a van while he was riding on his scooter. The main consequence of this accident – at least in this show - just seemed to be that he sat down more than he used to.
But the music was still as strong as ever. On his electric numbers, he conjured up the spirit of a younger Bruce Springsteen, much like his fellow rootsy neo-classic rockers like Marah and Hold Steady. Hoge’s songs this evening, however, favored more relationship-based songs rather than the character-flavored tunes that those aforementioned bands favor. On his acoustic songs, I got to thinking that any of these could be easily picked up by some better known Nashville acts – although they undoubtedly wouldn’t match Hoge’s ragged charms.
Hoge, who looks a little like Law & Order’s Jeremy Sisto, flashed his Southern civility when he complimented the club’s soundman for fixing his microphone during a song, while also serving up a dig at the Troubadour. Mostly it was a night for Hoge to showcase tracks from his upcoming disc, The Wreckage, while also touching on some older songs. He closed his all-too-short set with a Wreckage track “Hard To Love” but Hoge was very easy to love if you are a fan of well-crafted blue-collar rock ‘n’ roll. Hopefully, his new album will give him a well-deserved career boost.