› When: 9 p.m. today, Oct. 12
› Admission: $20
TOWN MOUNTAIN with DEAD 27s
› Admission: $10 in advance, $12 day of show
› When: 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13
DRIVIN’ N’ CRYIN’
› When: 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14
› Where: Revelry Room, 41 Station St.
› Admission: $25
› For more information: 423-521-2929
Doors open one hour before shows. Must be 18 or older with valid photo ID to enter.
Will Hoge was touring and had a steady gig writing songs when he realized he was "falling out of love with being in a band.
"I didn't have a good answer when I asked myself, 'Why am I still doing this?' So I walked away. I had to figure out what was next."
For Hoge, what came next was a quest to reclaim the joy and the magic that had drawn him to music in the first place. He let his band go and hit the road for roughly a year of solo shows, crisscrossing the country by himself with just a guitar and a keyboard.
He felt rejuvenated by the freedom and began writing material that re-energized him, that made him feel like a kid falling in love with rock and roll all over again. Those songs ignited a dormant flame somewhere deep within Hoge's soul, and now they form the bulk of "Anchors," his strongest album to date.
Hoge brings that new music to Revelry Room, 41 Station St., tonight, Oct. 12, for a 9 p.m. concert.
"All the solo work made me fall back in love with the process and really inspired me from a writing perspective," says Hoge. "I was so excited when it was time to record this album because I didn't have any parameters that I had to stay inside anymore. I could reach out to anyone I wanted and put together a band that could play these songs in a way that just felt cool and natural, like we used to do in my garage back when I was a teenager."
Hoge's teenage garage band years were spent in Franklin, Tenn., but his music career didn't begin in earnest until he moved roughly 20 miles up the road to Nashville. Starting with the release of his acclaimed 2001 debut, "Carousel," Hoge established himself as a songwriter and performer. Rolling Stone compared him to Bob Seger and John Mellencamp.
Hoge built a loyal fan base the old-fashioned way: maintaining a steady studio output and relentless touring schedule of more than 200 shows a year.
In 2012, Hoge found himself suddenly in the spotlight when the Eli Young Band hit No. 1 on the Billboard Country chart with their recording of his song "Even If It Breaks Your Heart." The single went Platinum, earning Hoge coveted nominations at the CMA, ACM and Grammy Awards, where the track was up for Country Song of the Year.
"All of the sudden, people were coming and offering me money to be a songwriter," reflects Hoge. "I hadn't had a regular paycheck in 15 years at that point, and suddenly I was a 'paid songwriter.' It was an incredible opportunity, and I did that for four years while I continued to tour and make my own records. I learned a lot of valuable things and wrote some songs that I really loved, but it was a very different kind of writing. I felt like I was working for somebody else."
Hoge's a happily married man with two kids of his own these days. And he's seen the love of music come full circle in his family.
"My boys are 6 and 10, and they started a band with their friend," explains Hoge. "I was sitting around one day during my period of deep doubt, and then I heard these three pre-teens in my garage thinking they can save the world with rock and roll. It was amazing.
"All of the sudden you remember the feeling of going to band practice and playing with your friends and making sure that you've got your jean jacket on just right so you can talk to the girl at the movie theater and try to get her to come to your show. You remember you do it because you love it and it feels right."