It’s a remarkable time to be a music fan, with just about every conceivable genre and sub-genre at your disposal with just a few keystrokes. But oddly enough, at a time when you can find everything from Pirate Metal to Christian Ska (both real music categories, by the way), there’s not a lot of musicians in 2020 playing straight ahead blue collar Rock and Roll. With Tom Petty sadly dead three years now and Bruce Springsteen exploring his inner cowboy on his latest, Will Hoge is back to pick up the slack.
Tiny Little Movies, his twelfth record, is certainly not a big departure from the sound he’s been refining since 2001, but it also doesn’t need to be. Across 11 tracks, Hoge dips into swampy roots rock (“Is This All That You Wanted Me For?”), soulful barroom stomps (“My Worst”) and the occasional slow tempo respites (“Even the River Rus Out of This Town,” “The Like of You”). The result will be satisfyingly comfortable to Hoge fans, but likely not stir much excitement beyond that group.
A dozen records into his career, Hoge has found his voice and is pretty content staying within the lines. There is the occasional surprise, like the powerful, gritty number “The Overthrow,” his most animated and lyrically inspired moment on the record. That’s not to say the rest of album is not filled with some solid tracks, its’ just that the “The Overthrow” is the most obvious standout moment here. Hoge’s not exactly reinventing the wheel, but two decades in and with a dedicated following Tiny Little Movies is bound to find a receptive audience.