We figured Will Hoge would bring his cracking band and his life-affirming voice, but who knew he’d also leave us with an unofficial new theme song for MC Roots?
In the middle of his captivating set, Nashville’s roots rocking ambassador gave us a song about musical dreams kindled by a glowing radio dial. “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” a simple gem of a tune, spoke straight to the core of everyone involved in our show and, it seemed, our capacity crowd. You take passion, love and integrity to the marketplace and sure, you’ll get beaten up, but you’ll also triumph, it seemed to say. The thing is to try.
I’m kind of embarrassed to say it, but until last night, I’d only appreciated Will’s music from a distance, even though so many of my friends are raving fans. I’d just never been in the right place/right time to experience how thoroughly he takes over a room with sweet, rocking, sad, tough songs and a hugely expressive and powerful voice. Now I have. Mission accomplished.
As Will noted with a grin to the crowd, he had a tough act to follow: a house rocking version of “Wild Thing” by the guy who wrote it. Yes the great Chip Taylor played Roots, thanks to an invitation from Jim Lauderdale. Chip brought a full band including his fabulous singing/songwriting fiddling protégé Kendel Carson and offered a set that proved why he’s one of America’s finest songwriters. He’s a great storyteller too, and it was a pleasure to chat with him onstage for a few minutes about the time he learned that Jimi Hendrix was going to record his most famous song.
I don’t know how we packed so much good stuff into two and a half hours, truth be told. We also saw Jason Ringenberg make as much fun as a guy can make with nothing but a guitar and a leopard-trimmed red smoking jacket. The Dirt Daubers gave us a moonshiny taste of their honest old-time house party music. And the elegant, eloquent Angel Snow previewed some of the songs she’s been composing with master bassist and producer Viktor Krauss. I’m counting the days til I can have a recording of “As You Are” with its haunted melody and snaky groove.
Yeah, we’ve got radio dreams alright. They seem to be coming true every Wednesday night.