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Jan. 21, 2023

Lucas Hoge - From Small Town to Big Town Country Music Success

Lucas Hoge - From Small Town to Big Town Country Music Success
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Some people are just born communicators and Lucas Hoge has that gift which The Trout discovered with his exclusive interview with Lucas. Fans know this because Hoge's new album Dirty South ascended to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Country Album Sales chart during its debut week. Whether he’s performing for troops overseas, sharing his love for the great outdoors with fellow sportsmen at an outdoor gathering or writing another song for a hit TV show, Hoge has that rare ability to find common ground with just about anyone and draw them into his world. Hoge’s creative universe has long revolved around music, and his latest offering DIRTY SOUTH, showcases a songwriter of considerable depth and a singer with an enviable skill for interpreting a lyric. “I try to either find songs or write songs that I think are going to stand the test of time and really connect with the listener,” Hoge says.  “I want every album to be an audio novel that people can listen to from top to bottom that takes them on a journey. I want songs that you can sink your teeth into and actually carry with you.”

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Today's podcast is supported by david smith of edward jones. Are you happy with your financial strategy or maybe like to see what other opportunities are out there or give david a call at 46937 215 87. That's 46937 215 87. David is only concerned about one person, that's you and your financial health. So check him out. David smith, edward jones, 46937 215 87. Hey, everybody, it's citrus and we'll welcome to the drought show. So happy you're here. If you're new to the channel, what I do is I interview independent and very well known musicians that are located all over this wonderful planet of ours. So thanks for listening. See if you've heard this one before. You got a guy that says, I want to be a well known musician. He lives in a small town in Nebraska. When I say small, less than a hundred people, he goes to town folks and say, I want to make it big. So what does the town do? They have bake sales, rummage sales, garage sales, all sorts of sales. Anyway, they got him enough money that they gave him $2,500, handed it over to him and this 20 year old person jumped in their vehicle and drove to nashville. And then you know what happened? Yeah, you got it. They became a successful singer, songwriter and performer. That's lucas hoag. That's the person I'm interviewing today. And I think you're going to joy his story as he talks about how his town helped him and how he worked diligently every night with two jobs, working during the day, singing at night. To be a successful performer, he is now. What's also interesting, lucas also has his own TV show. So sit back and enjoy this episode. Small town kid makes big town success in Nashville. That's lucas Holt. And that's next on the trout show. It's about that time for sunset cruise. Little town skyline up in my rearview I'm free tonight, baby how about you? You want to crank it up? We can slow it down or we can disappear to say the word and we can get out of here and go take a little ride down a countryside, drop it spinning. Ever mind pulls it under. These guys make a little sweet got a way to go making all light change taking every turn so weird don't feel like we got it but is I hit a lot sissy for the night but you want to seek a take a little ride down could you say drive? I just want to take a ride down because there's three things I really liked about you and it's funny, none of them about music, which is kind of interesting. I love your music. But here's the thing. Number one is the town of what is there like 60 people in hubble, Nebraska? Eight people now. It was 44 when I was there. Okay. So anyway, they got money together according to the stuff I read and I want you to verify they got enough money for you. Where did they send you? You were singing around town. I grew up there, obviously, but me and my dad, my brother, were always singing around and volunteered for anything that they needed to do. Charity, bent, whatever. We got volunteer the year awards, all that kind of stuff. Yeah. Graduation. I was like, you know what? I'm going to give this thing a shot. If I ever have a time, it's now. And I don't want to sit back and wonder if what if and all that stuff. I just want to do it. And so I was all the friends of mine that we used to do this thing around with and my old band back there, we got together, we did kind of like a mini offer at our local gymnasium. Yeah. And said, hey, I'm going to Nashville. I want everybody to kind of we're going to have a big party for at least. And we opened up three wheel donation and just opened up the doors, and we all just played song, sang all night long and packed this, like, 400 seat auditorium, which was really cool. And a lot of, like, the women's club and all the clubs like that, and the ladies bazaars, and they baked goods and sold the good, the cookies and the kolachis and all that quilts, and they painted paintings, and they auctioned them off, and they donated all that money to me. Get my butt to Nashville. I think I left out of there with a three wheel donation and all that stuff. About $2,500. Backed up my truck and moved to Nashville. Didn't know, so just start doing it. So how old were you at the time? I was 20 at the time. So you were out of high school? Yeah. You graduated high school, and I went to a trade school to get my degree in construction business, architecture and that kind of thing, just in case. Always has something to fall back on, something to pay the bill until the music took off. Right. And moved straight down there right after that. I had three bands going at one time. I had a worship band called Extreme Devotion that we were leading worship on the UNL campus while I was going college at Milford, Nebraska. I know where that is. I had a rock band called Southern Cross Rock and country. If anything goes, then I had a country band called Borderline all going at one time. So I was singing from Wednesday to Sunday whenever I get out of school or get out of work. Yeah, you're in Nashville and you got all these little bands. That was one of the reasons I like you. I'll get to the other two in a second, but I want to go on to this. You're paying your dues, which a lot of people don't understand that Chapel Heart is a prime example. They've been singing for like 20, whatever the time is. And then they get discovered and people think, oh, you're an overnight sensation. So from the time that you got there until the time that you got really traction, how long was it? Man, that's a good question. Seven or eight years after I got to Nashville, you know, I mean, I got to Nashville and I decided, I think I was at a Bootstore at the mall or something like that. The guy goes, man, you come here for music? I said, yes, sir. He's like, So did everybody else. He was kind of like pessimistic, but he said, you know, about 3000 people a month move to Dashville. And about at the end of every month, about 98% of those people quit, give up, and go home. He's like, if you really want it, you need to stay here and figure out how to make Nashville a home first. I'm like, man, that's great advice. I went out and got a great job, something that was going to pay the bills because I knew music wasn't going to do it for a long time and worked my butt off during the day and get up about 530 every morning.

Worked all day, got home at 05:

00 in the afternoon, got a 30 minutes shower and went down. Played all the bars, riders nights I could possibly find.

So probably about midnight, 01:

00 in the morning and do it all over again every single day for about three years until I was able to kind of cut back on having to cut my teeth and those comfy coffee. And that'll let you keep it fast about crowds and people and how to work those things like that. So are you writing at the time too, or you're writing your own material, or are you just doing, okay, give me the time of day, and just trying to do whatever I could to get into the industry in any way, shape or form, meeting everybody, don't take no for an answer, those kinds of tickets. I like the fact that you have spent some time overseas entertaining the troops, which is that to me, is a really cool thing to do. If I had the opportunity, I would then I'm not a star. Did someone come to you and say, hey, would you mind going on a tour, or did you decide to do it on your own? Yeah, probably been about 15 years ago. I've done 13 years of consecutive tours overseas, and each one is about two weeks in length, and the first one quite a while back. And there was a private contractor who was sending over talent, right? They were like, hey, we're going to do big stage lights. And you go to perform, you just blow it out, get show a good time. I'm like, okay, let's do it over there. It was just that, but we didn't get to spend a lot of one on one time because we were going from one place. Yeah, you do a show, get done the grip and rip and leave. It wasn't that one on one time that I was hoping for, right? To sit down. And literally, I landed after getting back on that first tour, which was a 30 day tour to Iraq, two way Kosovo, and, man, it was a Whirlwind tour for sure. And it was a long time to be overseas in those areas. And as soon as we landed, it was CMA Fest. And I was scheduled to do like the Celebrity Shootout or something like that, where we were. It was me and Craig Morgan, Tyler Par, and there was a bunch of us anyway, a bunch of stuff for CMA Fest. And the guy that was hosting it, his name is Robbie Powers. He owned a nonprofit called American 300. And he had just started this other thing called Wrangler National Patriot, which a good friend of mine, flashboard Jeff Chadwick from the Wrangler Corporation, decided to start this thing, and they partnered up before a year at the same time that I was overseas. And I heard you just got home from overseas. He's like, how about you go back with me at Memorial Day? I would love to, but what's the two are going to be like, because I don't want to just go over there and just play music and grip and rip and run. Yeah. You want to press some flesh and meet the people? Sure. Say thank you, look these people in the eye, whatever, let them tell me how their day is going back then. And he's like, that's exactly what we're going to do. He's like, we're going to put you a guitar in a black hop and some rodeo cowgirls and cowboys, and we're just going to go meet people. And you'll play for a little bit, and you'll play around campfires or in deFax and motor pool, wherever. You're not going to do a big show. I mean, we might set up one night and do a show at the end of the tour or something like that what I'd like to do. And we were doing that 13 years in a row. I loved every second of it. And yeah, it's been pretty cool. All they had to say to me was, blackhawk and where's my guitar? I'm going to love it. When did you get involved with is that the same offshoot of people that you're involved with? The PTSD? There was a nonprofit you were involved with, I know a few years back that had to do with they're based there by Colleen or in north of Kaline, I think, or down that area in Texas, guardian angel for soldiers, Pet, which is really cool. So when you see those reunite, they reunite pets with the troops that come home. It was that thing. So it's an organization that helps find foster homes for those animals, because a lot of times people have to surrender them if they don't take care of them and they'll put the dog or the cat down organization stepped up and they're like, we're going to find people to take care of these animals until you get home. That's the last thing on your mind. Know that they're taken care of, which is really cool. And I love being a part of that because I had an Animal Planet TV show years ago when I first moved to Nashville, where I was the senior songwriter, helping rescue 180 dogs every single week and finding a new home. So when they told me that they needed somebody to help them out, I was also oh, yeah, to talk about the military and pets and and anything that can help them keep their mind off worrying about that. I mean, that's that's a small thing, you know, are they are they still doing their thing? Are they still together? I think they are. I haven't heard a lot of things kind of dropped off during the COVID We're all just kind of trying to get back to it. That's the three things I really liked about you. Okay. You like dogs. You like dogs. That's it. Who cares about your singing career? I mean, seriously. Seriously, who cares? And of course, then the interesting thing about it is you have this Canadian is it a Canadian based you were doing a Canadian HOGWILD up there. Are you still shooting at or you did that for a while or what? No, that's why I'm down here for the show. We're filming season four right now for a while. Okay. But season three is airing right now in Canada. So yeah, it's going to be fun. And we're doing some amazing stuff for season four. Season one, two, and three were awesome, but this year is going to be incredible. We're going back to Costa Rica. Belize? I'm starting to music festival down in Belize because I fell in love with it down there so much that trying to buy a property and start a music festival so that I have a reason to go every few months. Well, don't you dive too? Yeah, we're going to be doing a lot of stupid diving down to your dog most beautiful, crystal clear gin water. So how many episodes do you shoot for your show? I'll do ten to 13 episodes for a season. That's about six months worth, I guess it's like quarters worth now. We're doing three quarters worth. So we're going to do anywhere from 15 to 20 episodes, and then we're going to do start over in Q Two and rear all the way through and then start back in Canada. Well, we're essentially year round, year and a half, right. It's just some production coming out of Canada that said, hey, come up and do this. Or did you have people in the business that said or you had a concept? I own everything. I created everything. Oh, wow, that's cool. I hire out the entity. One of my dear friends, my camera guy, I've known him for 15 years, probably when he was being sponsored by the same archery company I was. It was me and Josh Stewart. Do you remember the act of Josh Stewart? Yeah. After he's been everything like, oh, yeah, I know. I got all in the same archery company together for a long time, long, low cash. And sought out this one dude sitting across me like, you don't look like you're in the music business or in the film business. He's like, no, man, I'm just a hunter. I'm like, that's awesome. What else do you do? How do you pay the bills? It's like, Well, I'm a camera guy too. I'm like, There it is, right there. And quit friends. And finally, when the show took off, I was like, man, I need that go to guy that I want to keep that consistency so the show looks consistent. And he's my guy, man, he's hard. Hard worker. An hour before we all get up and two or 3 hours before we all go to sleep. Just gathering content, filing, organizing, just really fast. I was impressed before, but I'm really impressed by you now because you're not just a musician, you're an entrepreneur. When I have a new artist, I say, do you understand how the music business works? It's the business of music. It's not the music business, the business of music. And you have to understand that you know this as well as I do. What's unique about you is you have the ability, you're smart enough and you have the creativity to figure out, I can do this. I got to do everything. In other words, not everybody has that capability. A lot of people say, I just want to put me in the studio. I want to stand in front of the microphone on the right song. I don't want to know how to run the board. I don't want to produce. Just do that. But you're taking it further than that. And that's very smart to sit there and go that way. It's interesting to me because when I was a kid and I wanted to make it big and do all this stuff, but back then it was get famous or get known in your town, get bigger, maybe do the country I mean, the country fair. And if you're lucky, somebody from ANR would show up and go say, boy, you want to sell your life away? And then you go on recording and they throw it up on a shelf and go, sorry, we didn't like it. And that's one of the things I always talk to people about, is people still want the big label support. But on the other hand, like, you, you're doing fine. There's no reason. And this is what I tell younger artists. I want to want a Grammy. I want to make a zillion dollars. Well, how about just playing your music and get paid enough to make it work? Exactly. I've been saying this since I moved to Nashville. I never had dreams of being Garth Brooks. I love Garth Brooks. I love George Strick. I love them all, and I love their careers. But it's like I always came to Nashville wanting a career. Don't make me I don't care if I'm a star. I don't care if I'm a celebrity. I want a career that'll last until I die to be able to make music, be in the entertainment business and make enough and pave my own ways where I can survive, have a great life, take me around the world, and it's done exactly that. I've never wanted that gigantic stardom of holy cows where you can't go outside and have dinner. No, I've never wanted that. I've always wanted that long lasting career that can sustain me until I die and doing what I'd love to do. So, on stage, do you play acoustic most of the time, or do you play electric at all? I hardly ever play electric. I'll play a resonator, but it's mainly oh, you do? Okay. So what's your favorite guitar that you play? Well, my favorite guitar that I have is the 410 Taylor Limited Edition. That was my guitar that I fell in love with and I first moved to Nashville. There was an old used music store that I would go into every week and make sure that it was still there. Guitar. It breathed a different era. I was playing an old tack meat no, but it felt like playing a two by four with strings on a compared to the Taylor that I would pick up. Taylor and I picked up this guitar every single week I play this thing, and I would hide it behind all the other guitars. They could find it so that nobody would see it, or hopefully they wouldn't see it. It was probably two months later. I was literally playing that guitar, and my mom called me on my cell phone. She's like, if you're in that guitar shop, we're poor as poor. Mom and dad always had enough, but we never had plenty. She said, I'm going to get a credit card. You're going to buy that guitar, and you're going to pay me every month. I'm like, Are you serious? She's like, if it's if it's there next week, you go get that thing. And I took that credit card, I bought that guitar. $2500, most expensive thing I've ever bought in my entire life. And I paid that thing off, probably. I don't know how long it took me to pay that thing off. And I still play that thing today every show. That's your baby. That's your baby. It's got the old willy and whalen holes from the pic hell out of that thing that flat hard and then flash forward to me, love and Taylor. I'm an endorsed Taylor guitar artist? I wouldn't hope so. I've got so many amazing Taylor guitars that I love. And my buddy Tim Godwin would call me and we'd go to Nam together. He's like, what's your favorite guitar? He's like, You've done so many posts for us and stuff. Can we send you some money? I'm like, I don't want your money, send me a guitar. I want the K 26 C E, Lucier edition, blah, blah, blah, this, that cold, this. And he goes, okay, wait by the mailbox. Like, three days later, this guitar shows up all co a front back and just like my dream guitar, right? I'll never have to buy that guitar in my entire life. And when I got that, I got the tears. I loved it so much. But it still doesn't pop. That guitar that I hit in the old music store for probably six months until I could figure out how to buy it. So you're going to go on tour and then that lasts for months, doesn't it? I mean, you're doing a lot of dates. Yeah, I'll be done the end of April is my last. Well, it's not too bad. Yeah. And then I start my festival May 17 to the 21st in Belize. And then that's when I start filming for the rest of the season for my show, my TV series, Folk Wild. So, like I said, we're going to be in Spain. We're going to be in Istanbul, Turkey. New Zealand. Canada. Rica. Puerto Vallarta. We're going to be in Mexico and all over the central United States as well. I admire what you're doing, and I'm sure a lot of people would find out about you if they knew everything about what you do. They probably admire you as much as I do for everything that you do. And I think what you do is just really tremendously great. And I don't blow smoke pill for people because I don't need to. But the music is great. The TV show which I will watch because I have dish. So it's on dish. I know. I did check it out. I do check it out. I'm going to have to record it now that I've seen you. I got to watch the show now. And so the single comes out on the 20th, and then after that you go on tour and then just kind of a last question. Do you take a tape, do you record on the way and just kind of get ideas and start strumming and go, I got an idea for a new song, or does that come to you like that or not? Yeah, absolutely. My phone is clear, full of ideas, and I'll send them off to my I call it my board of advisors and board of directors or whatever you want for us, and be like, hey, I really want to call space this idea, hold it for me, and I'll send it to this buddy of mine. I'll be like, I want to do this idea. Think on it and hold this one for me and put my name on it because it will come back in a few weeks and when I'm off the road and we'll crack down on it. Your california red I'm whiskey straight lace with the ball cap so rain. I know you like that I love you uptown shine in the back of my mind I think it's time to sid night and get lost. Get. Lost find a county line a week and crossing even though there's a world I want to show you take off, take off little city lights in a dust cloud baby, right now we can get lost get lost, yeah I want to get lost get lost I want to get good and gone way out there all along with a million stars kiss you slow on the hood of my car turning hit lights off who's up every drop with the moonlight shining through the little track of time and we can get lost get lost find a county line that we can cross and keep on going there's a world I want to show you lift. Take off. well, that's it for this episode of the Drought Show podcast. Thanks for listening. I'd like to thank my guest, Lucas hoag, for coming on and talking with me and telling about his musical career. If you'd like to know more about Lucas, you can check out his website at lucas hoag and that's h o GE.com Lucashog.com. Or check out his TV show, hoag wild and that's hogewild.com. Check it out. See where you can see it. It's a great show. I think you'll enjoy it. So until next time, people, remember what I always say, it's only rock and roll, but I love it. See you. Thank you.