Any fan of country music is aware of the evolution that the genre has gone through over the past few years. It’s been a topic of feverish discussion for avid country music fans, debating about how the sound has changed from its traditional roots.
But it’s up and coming stars, like Lucas Hoge for instance, that reflect said evolution, but also keep the spirit of traditional country music alive. His new single “Boom Boom” fits into the new style of country, with its catchy melody that’s bound to get stuck in your head and a beachy feel that would make Kenny Chesney proud. “I love telling stories,” the singer states. “I grew up on Garth Brooks music, so I love telling everybody about the story behind the song. There’s a song for everybody.”
The track offers a slight twist on the traditional romance story, telling the story of a man who felt empty until he met the woman who finally made his heart do as the title implies. And “Boom Boom” also takes Hoge out of his comfort zone with a music video that he describes as “James Bond meets Frank Sinatra” that was shot in Las Vegas and incorporates an old-fashioned Shelby Cobra. “[It’s] completely outside my box,” he said.
Both the single and upcoming album are a step in a new direction for the rising star – almost an evolution you could say. “This entire project is just outside my wheelhouse,” he revealed, “so I kind of went down a different road.” This divergent road follows along the path set by producer Matt McClure, who also works with friend and labelmate Stephanie Quayle, along with Lee Brice, Jerrod Niemann and Thompson Square, just to name a few. When Hoge got together with McClure and the musicians on the album, he explained that “things started evolving behind the board. I was so excited to get it out there. This is some of the best stuff I’ve ever put out, honestly,” he said.
In addition to McClure, Hoge has some other heavy hitters featured on the album, including the follow up single titled “Holdin’ On” co-penned by country superstar Sam Hunt and Mark Nesler, who’s behind No. 1 singles like Tim McGraw’s “Just to See You Smile” and “You Look Good in My Shirt” by Keith Urban. His respect for one of country music’s greatest and an inspiration for Hoge is also reflected on the album in “Power of Garth,” a song co-written by Matt Rogers and Terry McBride (past songwriting credits include cuts by Reba McEntire and Ronnie Dunn).
His love for Brooks is one that runs deep, going all the way back to when Hoge was a child. Growing up with three older siblings, Hoge explained how rock bands like ACDC and Aerosmith were dominating the radio, a sound he enjoyed, but wasn’t always sure what he was listening to. His love of country music was brought to life when his dad began bringing him Johnny Cash and George Jones records. Then a friend in elementary school brought him Brooks’ “No Fences” album, a project that would solidify his passion for country music. “It just blew my mind and [I] just fell in love with it,” Hoge said of the album.
From there, he began to fall even further in love with the songwriting side of music, citing iconic songwriters like Paul Overstreet, Steve Young and Michael Peterson as influences who can “deliver that song and that story, that’s what I love.” Along with Brooks, Hoge is also a fan of Blake Shelton, McGraw, Chesney and Urban. “He’s got some great stuff coming up and I love to see how his music has evolved over the times,” Hoge said of Shelton, naming “Ol’ Red” and “Sangria” as two of his favorite songs by the artist.
His passion for making music also translates into his dedication for those overseas. Every year, Hoge takes part in the Wrangler National Patriot Tour, which recently sent him to Africa for a two-week tour entertaining the troops. Though “nerve-wracking,” the experience is also a humbling one, putting the singer in front of brave heroes who don’t typically get to see entertainment. “It’s cool to go over there and talk to them and take them out of their element just for a little bit, take their mind off what’s going on over there,” Hoge said of the experience.
And if there’s one thing Hoge is keen on understanding is the importance of keeping his sound fresh. “Always reinvent yourself as an artist,” he says. “You just have to, you gotta evolve with what’s going on these days.”