Personnel includes: Will Hoge (vocals, guitar); Michelle Branch (vocals); Brian Layson (guitar); Rami Jaffee (organ); Tres Sasser (bass); Kirk Yoquelet (drums); John Shanks, Jamie Muhoberac, Patrick Warren.
Recorded at Sunset Sound and Henson Studios, Los Angeles, California.
Personnel: Will Hoge (vocals); Michelle Branch (vocals); Brian Layson (guitar, background vocals); Rami Jaffee (organ); Kirk Yoquelet (drums); Tres Sasser (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Chris Lord-Alge; David Thoener; Marc DeSisto; Mark Valentine.
Those who have caught his incendiary live show or who picked up his self-released first album already know what a huge, cathartic kick a Will Hoge song can be. Those who will experience him for the first time on his major-label debut are in for a fist-pumping, hip-shaking, chorus-shouting treat. Hoge is one of those big-hearted, shamelessly emotive songwriters who loves the sound of guitars and has a lot of broken relationships to work through, but who seems generally too busy crafting brilliant hooks to stop and wallow in the misery he hints at in most of his songs. Or maybe it's just that the misery is outweighed by the lusty joy that informs every chorus of those songs -- whether he's exulting in his own inability to play it smooth on "Not That Cool," or refusing to give up when he knows he really should on "Hey Tonight," or roaring out his romantic independence on the brilliant roots-rocker "Better Off Now"." If anything, the ratio of wonderful songs to merely very good ones is even higher on this album than it was on Carousel, and the general sound is, blessedly, almost identical: big guitars that alternately growl and jangle, the occasional Hammond organ, and Hoge's attractively blue-collar voice soaring above it all. Dan Baird's lead guitar is missed, but Brian Layson is no slouch himself. Highly recommended. ~ Rick Anderson