By Annie Reuter
“You spend your whole first part of your life just hoping you’ll get to make a record,” he tells Radio.com. “So to have gotten to do 10 of them at this point I’m really flattered by that. That there’s an audience that enables me to do that is pretty amazing.”
After producing his previous three records himself, Hoge this time enlisted Marshall Altman (Frankie Ballard, Eric Paslay) as producer. He says this decision was a huge step forward for him musically, and it was important to work with Altman, a friend and someone he trusted.
“I really wanted to push myself forward sonically, and I just felt like with having produced the last three records by myself, I have a particular way that I make records for me,” he says. “I talk about it all the time, this idea that you can’t keep making vanilla cake and using the same ingredients and wonder why you don’t get a chocolate cake.”
Hoge said over the course of his last album, 2013’s Never Give In, he saw success in “places genre-wise that we had never seen before.” It was this acceptance that opened his eyes to making a different record than he had in the past and the decision to work with Altman.
There are many autobiographical moments on the album. For instance, Hoge says album opener “Growing Up Around Here” tells the story of growing up in Nashville and Franklin, Tenn. while “Little Bitty Dreams” is a direct representation of some memories and specific images of growing up.
Another song, “They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To,” tells the tale of the advice Hoge’s father, a former musician, has given to him.
“You always used to warn me about this highway that I was on. Ain’t no way to make a living squeezing pennies out of songs,” he sings on the track.