Americana singer and songwriter Will Hoge is slated to perform at SLO Brewing Co. on Dec. 7, accompanied by opening act and Cal Poly alumnus Joe Koenig.
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Hoge will perform songs off his ninth album, Never Give In, that reflect where he is in his life both geographically and his lifestyle.
“I was born and raised in Nashville,” Hoge said. “I feel like Nashville is sort of this amalgam of country and rock and blues and R&B music rolled up into one. I think, whether I like it or not, I am a direct reflection of those influences having grown up here my whole life.”
Hoge writes his songs based on what himself or a family member is going through at the time. Currently, his songs are based on his life at home with a wife and two kids. Hoge’s songs have matured as his life has changed.
“One of my favorite things as a writer is hearing that I have said exactly what someone else wanted to say in that situation and they just didn’t know how to do it,” he said. “To get that conveyed to you as an artist is a pretty big compliment.”
But Hoge doesn’t just write songs for his own albums. One of his proudest moments as an artist is his Grammy nomination for the song “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” that he co-wrote for the Eli Young Band.
Some of his fans discovered his talent by listening to that song. Cal Poly alumna Emily Hollis will be attending the show this Saturday.
“He’s been around for a while and has never really had the kind of popularity that most ‘country’ artists that people know,” Hollis said. “I heard him sing that song years ago and loved it, and have followed him ever since.”
It is those tried-and-true fans that have given him the support to enable him to tour the country many times for his other albums, along with other artists.
“Opening for other bands, you learn so much being the road and seeing different guys play,” Hoge said. “You try to sort of work those things into your own show, continuing to make the show better and better each time.”
Hoge has changed a lot since his first performance with his high school band in the parking lot of a pizza place and gas station. One thing that hasn’t changed is Hoge’s love of performing live.
“It was the first time I got a response from a crowd,” he said. “I remember coming home, waking my parents up and telling them that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.”
Hoge’s favorite thing about music is the give and take between the audience and the band while performing live.
“It is one of the few mediums that you can have an immediate response from the crowd,” Hoge said. “Every time that people show up to hear us play, I always feel lucky.”
As far as what the future holds for Hoge, he hopes to continue in the same direction he has been going in his 15-year music career.
“I don’t have any real rocketship kind of dreams where I am selling out stadiums or making millions and millions of dollars or living in a mansion,” he said. “I hope that my career continues to grow and I can make the records I want to make the way I want to do it and for the people I want to play it for while being able to support my family.”
Opening for Hoge this Saturday night will be Joe Koenig, a Cal Poly alumnus and pole vaulter for the track and field team.
“Joe Koenig is also a southern country-influenced singer-songwriter that refers to his classification of music as ‘texas soul,’” SLO Brew co-owner Todd Newman said.
Tickets are $13 in advance and $15 at the door. They are available on the SLO Brew website.
“If you like quality, soulful songwriting and guitar picking, this is a show you will not want to miss,” Newman said.