Review: Roots rocker Will Hoge gets mad and waxes romantic

Will Hoge, “Tiny Little Movies” (Thirty Tigers/Edlo)

An entire album of angry political anthems could be exhausting, like the daily headlines. So Tennessee rocker Will Hoge probably is wise to keep his temper in check for much of his new 11-song set, “Tiny Little Movies.”

But Hoge twice allows himself to rant at the state of the nation, which results in the album’s most interesting music, and compelling soundtrack material for the progressive political movement.

“The Overthrow” references only one proper name — “Darth Vader with a spray tan” — but it’s a none-too-subtle foot-stomper in search of an audience eager for a change in leadership. “Con Man Blues” strikes a similar chord in a different key and rocks even harder as Hoge channels punk fury, the target of his ire again unmistakable.

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Sustaining that level of passion would be a lot to ask, and instead much of the rest is twin-guitar, four-square roots rock with an appealing mix of tempos and moods. Hoge dials down to consider love gone wrong on “My Worst,” “Even the River Runs Out of This Town” and “Is This All That You Wanted Me For?”

“You can’t change the color of the blues,” he observes. Whether the subject is politics or romance, Hoge sings with a hungry heart, his commitment reminiscent of the guy who sang “Hungry Heart.”

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