Will Hoge, musically and geographically, is “Still a Southern Man.” But on his most recent album, “My American Dream,” he is more blue state than red.
Hoge, a Tennessee native, scored a country hit when he wrote “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” which the Eli Young Band took to No. 1 on the Billboard chart. Much of his music deals with mainstream topics of love, family and home, often with a heartland rock feel.
But when he growls that the rebel flag “ain’t never led to anything good / I can’t wait to tear it down / But I’m still a Southern man,” you know that he’s not pandering.
He knew he would lose some of his fan base when he released it, he told Foo Fighters’ guitarist Chris Shiflett, in Shiflett’s podcast, “Walking the Floor.”
“But art isn’t always good business,” he told Shiflett.
Hoge brings his band to Rocky Mount’s Harvester Performance Center on Wednesday. The Band of Heathens opens the show.
It will be Hoge’s first Southwest Virginia appearance since 2015, when he was part of the old Blue Ridge Music Festival lineup, in Salem. He played that event in 2013, too, and was atop bills at the old Kirk Avenue Music Hall in 2012 and 2011.
The Band of Heathens, from Austin, Texas, is another Americana rocking act that has played Southwest Virginia in years past. The group hit Martin’s Downtown in 2014, played Kirk Ave in 2012 and the old Awful Arthur’s at Towers Shopping Center in 2011 and 2010.
The quintet’s most recent release came last year, when the band dropped “A Message from the People Revisited,” their cover of a Ray Charles album.