If you look up Will Hoge’s Anchors on Amazon.com, both of Chris Stapleton’s most recent releases come up in the ‘customers also bought’ section. And he belongs right there with today’s country wonder boy because he also has a soulful, ragged-but-right singing voice, and sings songs that are straight from the heart.
Few songs in 2017 are more heartbreaking than “This Grand Charade,” which reads a little like a George Jones song title, and sounds like something he could have also dug his teeth into. It tells the tragic story of a couple on the outs, merely going through the motions together. He may not be as smooth as Anderson East, but he’s every bit as sold out to soul. “Cold Night in Santa Fe” is living proof of that. “Angels Wings,” though, is a beautiful traditional country redemption song, which finds Hoge asking: “How many chances do I get to turn it all around?” With “17,” he offers up a song about youth that doesn’t get overly nostalgic, the way too many other country songs do. In fact, Hoge’s voice on it sounds like vintage Bob Seger. This track also includes a sweet horn section.
Hoge closes the album with “Young as We Will Ever Be,” an out and out guitar rock song. Hoge knows how to rock & roll when he puts his mind to it. Anchors is an album matching a distinctively sincere singing voice, with equally honest songs, which makes it doubly good.