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Will Hoge is a ‘normal’ country star

6th Annual ACM Honors - Show

6th Annual ACM Honors - Show

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Will Hoge, with Sunny Sweeney

10 p.m. Nov. 8, Joe’s Bar, 940 W. Weed. $10-$1. (312) 337-3486;

Will Hoge has never met legendary rocker Bob Seger. Yet they seem to have a lot in common. From their songwriting talents to their “working man” mentality, Hoge and Seger have a kinship that was further strengthened recently when Chevrolet replaced Seger’s longtime advertising anthem “Like a Rock” with Hoge’s budding hit “Strong.”

“Bob Seger is one of those guys who has a litany of iconic songs,” says Hoge during a recent stop on his first ever headlining “Never Give In” tour. “I would never put myself in his category, but I do love how he has always maintained a real sense of normalcy. He continues to make records when he wants to and tours when he wants to. That’s the way it should be.”

Sounds awfully like the philosophy that Hoge has followed since breaking into the country music scene since the late ’90s. He recently found success as the co-writer for Eli Young Band’s mega-hit “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” and now “Strong” is the new theme song for Chevy Silverado. (“Strong” serves as yet another example of “the bonus track that could” ­— it almost didn’t make it on Hoge’s new record.)

His ninth studio album, “Never Give In,” certainly goes far in cementing his rank as one of the most intriguing singer/songwriters out there. And while Hoge remains committed to that Seger-esque “head down and pedal to the metal” sort of mentality, he has his opinions on what works for his music.

“I like to write songs I believe in,” he says. “There are certain songs that I just can’t write. I love that Luke Bryan can go and make spring break party songs, for example. Those songs serve a purpose and there are a lot of people who love those songs, but it would be disingenuous of me to do those songs, even though I don’t begrudge anyone for doing it. Trucks and beers may sell a lot of records, but it’s just not what I do. I have a pickup truck and I sometimes sit on the tailgate, but I don’t do it at a bonfire on a Friday night singing Eagles songs. My songs are more about my life is like on a daily basis.”

And currently, that daily life centers on Hoge’s family. “I use my wife and kids as a barometer of what’s going on in my career at the moment,” he laughs. “Between my wife’s excitement and my kids’ apathy, I think I get a good feel of how most of the country feels about my music.”

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