By Tiffany Razzano
Fresh out of an unhappy record deal with Atlantic Records, Nashville roots and soul rocker Will Hoge is happy to be on his own again, creating the kind of music that he can wholly stand behind.
Like his previous work, influenced by classic rock and soul greats, Hoge has just released a new live LP, Again Somewhere Tomorrow, which was recorded over two nights last September at Exit/In in Nashville. The 13-track album features older songs from previous albums, including “The Man Who Killed Love,” released only last July, two new songs, “Sunshine Burn” and “Southern Belle,” as well as a cover of “Long Tall Sally.”
“The original intent was that we were going to put each night out as an individual record because both shows were very different,” Hoge said. “But as we got into it, we felt like that was a little bit vain and presumptuous for a band as new and young in its career. So we took the best of each night on one record.”
No stranger to the road, the live album will keep Hoge and his band busy throughout the spring as they tour the country, which included a February 23, 2007, stop at the Bowery Ballroom. After that, he’ll be heading back into the studio this summer to record yet another album. “I’m a firm believer that when you have music ready and available, then put it out,” he said. “If you have another great album, I don’t care if it’s four months after your last album, put it out. Fans deserve that. Think of musicians like The Beatles, Otis Redding, The Rolling Stones. Most of them put out a record a year, if not two. We try to stick closer to that.”
The desire to put out records whenever he had enough material for one was just one area where Hoge and his former label Atlantic Records clashed. Hoge equates the situation to being in a romantic relationship. “Sometimes you catch yourself in relationships that are bad for you,” he said. “That’s exactly what this was. [Atlantic] didn’t understand what we wanted to do as a band or as an artist. But we gave it our best effort. We made all the sacrifices we could make and still look at ourselves in the mirror, but it didn’t work.”
When Hoge asked to be let out of his contract, Atlantic gave him no problems about it. In fact, the label even gave him his first album back to take with him. “It’s much healthier being on my own at this point,” Hoge said. “If I had the right label trying to understand what we do, that understands the band and fans of the band, we might consider another label. But the reality is, there doesn’t seem be that opportunity out there at the moment.”
Being back on his own allows Hoge to concentrate on the type of music he wants to make. Rather than focusing on trying to be mainstream, he looks more toward classic rock, R&B, country and roots rock as influences on his own sound. “A lot of new music out there, I’m not too fond of,” Hoge said. “I find myself going back to older music. There’s some great new music out there, but a lot of what is force-fed via American Idol and record labels is such crap. It’s a waste of space. I’d much rather listen to an Otis [Redding] record than an American Idol record.”