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article imageReview: Will Hoge brings country rock music to New York's Bowery Ballroom Special

By Markos Papadatos     Jul 26, 2013 in Entertainment
New York - On July 25, country singer and songwriter Will Hoge performed with his three-piece band at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City, where fellow country singer Wade Bowen served as his opening act.
A Nashville, Tennessee, native, Will opened his set with “When I Can Afford to Lose.” “It’s fine for you to clap your hands,” he told the audience prior to singing “Too Old To Die Young,” which he played on electric guitar that was subsequently met with a loud applause.
He continued with “Fool’s Gonna Fly” and “Goodnight/Goodbye,” the latter of which he accompanied himself on harmonica and acoustic guitar.
Will noted how stoked he was to receive a phone call back home in Nashville to perform at the Grand Ole Opry for the first time, which was highly unexpected for him, especially since he is known for playing country rock. He immediately broke into the soothing ballad “Baby Girl,” where he showcased his vulnerability as an artist.
It was followed by “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” the chart-topping single that he co-penned with Eric Paslay for the Eli Young Band that garnered him well-deserved nominations from the Country Music Association (CMA), Academy of Country Music (ACM) and the Grammys for his superb songwriting. He dedicated this tune to all of the concertgoers at the Bowery Ballroom for coming out and seeing him tonight and towards the end, he turned it into a crowd sing-along.
Will shared that he has enjoyed an opening slot for country mega-star Kenny Chesney, where he played for a sold out soccer stadium in Ohio and he was able to create that same atmosphere from that Ohio arena in New York’s Bowery Ballroom.
He continued with “Highway Wings” and after a sip of water, he delivered an infectious rendition of “Goddam California,” thus showcasing his twang.
After the up-tempo and rocking “Long Gone,” he sang “When I Get My Dreams” with maximum soul, as well as “Jesus Came to Nashville” solo and acoustic, which was quite impressive since this tune was a mouthful.
His band returned and joined him on his latest radio single “Strong,” as the stage was graced in orange lights.
It was followed by “Ms. Williams,” where he got the crowd on their feet and “Another Song Nobody Will Hear,” which featured a cameo from Wade Bowen who came to the stage to sing this duet with Will.
He introduced the title cut of his new CD, “Never Give In,” which will be out on October 15, and sang “Better Off Now (That You’re Gone),” a rocking country tune, as well as “She Don’t Care.”
“Thank you all very much,” Will said graciously prior to wishing everybody a good night.
As an encore, Will came back on stage and sang “Pocket Full of Change,” as he introduced his band members and showcased his impressive guitar riffs.
For his second and final encore song of the evening, Will took a risk and decided to play “Someone Else’s Baby” unplugged, in the crowd in the middle of the Bowery Ballroom as the audience surrounded him and they served as his harmony singers. That was definitely the highlight vocal of the night since his risk paid off and he left his fans spellbound. My hat goes off to Will for being able to pull this off. The only other vocalist that I have had the pleasure to see this year live that was able to accomplish such a feature (to sing without a microphone) was folk and rock songstress Brandi Carlile at the Beacon Theatre.
The Verdict
After watching him perform at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City, it is evident that Will Hoge is one of the most underrated artists in the country music genre. His vocals were rich and soulful and you can hear the passion in his voice as he sings; moreover, his songwriting is stellar and his prowess on acoustic guitar is unparalleled.
Although, Will has yet to become a household name in the music scene, he certainly deserves to be. His show garnered a solid “A” rating, and Wade did a good job opening for him.
For more information on Will Hoge, visit his official website.
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