Nashville singer/songwriter Will Hoge tells the true story of the start of his family on the poignant new song, 'Trying to Be a Man,' featured on his upcoming album, 'NUMBER SEVEN.' "The first half of the song is pulled directly from the birth of my first son," he tells The Boot. "My wife Julia and I were unmarried at the time and trying to just get by on a working musician's salary. I always told Julia it would be fine, but I certainly spent some sleepless nights trying to think about how I was going to take care of this family that was on the horizon."
Listen to the exclusive premiere of 'Trying to Be a Man' below.
The song takes a heartbreaking turn that's thankfully fictional for Will himself, but was inspired by a friend's tragedy. "For the last part of the song, I thought back to a friend from high school who lost his wife during childbirth," he explains. "I imagine looking into my children's eyes and having to be strong, but also hoping they don't know in a lot of ways I'm just a scared kid with no answers, no clues, no handbook."
Will recorded 'Trying to Be a Man' a few times, using different microphones, different rooms and even different phrasing of the lyrics. But he ended up going back to the "scratch vocal" for the final cut, giving the track a more natural feel. Still, he knew something was missing.
"Once everything was done, I just felt we needed a more special guitar solo," Will recalls. "Vince Gill is one of my favorite musicians, and his playing kept coming back in my mind every time I'd think about the song. We have the same manager, so I asked him if I could call Vince and to see if there was any chance he'd play on the track. Thankfully, Vince agreed. He played this incredible sounding, old Martin guitar that probably costs more than my whole album budget. The sound of that guitar and his touch was just perfect right out of the gate. It's a highlight of my recording career thus far."
NUMBER SEVEN will be released Sept. 27, with Will's fall headlining tour kicking off Sept. 24 in Athens, Ga. Jaron and the Long Road to Love, Locksley, James Dunn, Brighton, Nic Cowan and Aunt Martha will trade opening slots on various dates. Click here to see Will's full concert schedule.