WILL HOGE PROVES HIS COUNTRY CRED

WILL HOGE PROVES HIS COUNTRY CRED

Will Hoge proves true music can last, even in a changing industry. Not only did his newest album, Never Give In, land him a No. 1 spot on the Billboard Heatseekers chart in its first week, but the first single, “Strong,” was picked up by Chevrolet for its 2013 Silverado ad campaign.

At the Bud Light Stage early on Friday afternoon, Hoge ran out and opened with “Long Gone.” After tossing his guitar offstage to his tour manager, he strapped on another one and played “Better Off Now That You’re Gone.”

“This next song is one of mine that I recorded and was picked up by a band you may have heard of called Lady Antebellum. CMA Fest is a perfect time to have people join you onstage so,” he teased, “Lady Antebellum is not here today. But thank you very much.”

He followed with more from four of his eight studio albums, including the bluesy “Still Got You On My Mind;” a raw, emotional “When I Get My Wings;” the storyteller “Even If It Breaks Your Heart;” and the rock ‘n’ roll ballad “Bad Ol’ Days”

“I was told for years that I’d never have a song played on Country radio,” Hoge said. “I would like to thank all of y’all Country Music fans and the fine folks at Country radio for proving everybody wrong.” And then he played “Strong,” which evoked a huge crowd response.

He closed with “The Highway’s Home” from his 2007 album, Draw the Curtains. The band gathered around the microphone and sang the chorus from the Hank Williams song “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” The crowd was more than pleased.

As he walked offstage, Hoge addressed the crowd with a heart-warming “thank you” and a smile.