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Listen: Will Hoge's Takes on the NRA and "Thoughts and Prayers" Responses to Tragedy on New Song

Nashville-based musician Will Hoge was one of the “first responders” earlier this month when the Country Music Awards announced that media would not be allowed to ask talent questions about gun control, the Vegas shooting or matters of a political nature on the red carpet.
After Brad Paisley and others joined the crusade against the ill-thought-out rule, CMA rescinded its edict. At the onset of the controversy, Hoge was contacted by top media including the Washington Post and the CBC.

Currently on tour in support of his recently released album Anchors, the musician realized he needed to make a statement about the tragedies and travesties occurring far too regularly in the United States and those who don’t do anything about them.

“Thoughts and Prayers” is powerful in its simplicity. Hoge’s piercing, haunting vocal is supported solely by acoustic guitar and fierce lyrical content. The track starts with:

Another politician sitting far away
Doesn’t matter how many people got gunned down today
As long as you can keep your re-election bills paid
You’re just a whore to the pimp that’s called the NRA

It ends with equal fury, stating:

Don’t give a damn about your thoughts and prayers
It’s just wasted words and nobody cares
Why don’t you do your job up there and
Keep your thoughts and prayers…

This strong statement comes from a man who isn’t afraid to take risks with his voice or his art. Hoge left the comfort of touring with his band because he hit a creative wall and needed to figure out his next move. The CMA- and Grammy Award-nominated artist took to the road for a year of solo shows with a guitar and keyboard and in so doing, reclaimed what inspired his soul. The result wasAnchors, his strongest and most nuanced album to date.

According to Hoge, "I have become more irritated with the phrase 'thoughts and prayers' that has recently become part of popular vernacular. Upon more thought, I considered that for the average citizen the statement is a way to express sympathy when there is no other way for them to help in a situation. Now as far as Capitol Hill is concerned, it’s another situation entirely. Politicians have ALL the opportunities in the world to make a difference and fix the problems that are causing tragedies on a continual basis in our country. It’s both cowardly and shameful that these people act as if there is nothing they can do as lawmakers. For me as a music maker, I’m not thinking about my songs conveying any specific message. This track was simply me working on my anger and disappointment surrounding the gross negligence of elected officials and sham organizations like the NRA who are fear and hate mongers. I suspect I am not alone in my thoughts."

Once again, Hoge’s flame has been re-ignited by soul-searching, touring and his anger at what’s going on in our country. Will this bold lyrical move made by Hoge cause a reaction from others? Who knows, they can write their own damn song. Just know that Hoge won’t be tweeting out his “thoughts and prayers” about that.