Written by Guest Contributor Aimee Iceman
I decided to go out of my realm, so to speak, and review Dirty South by Lucas Hoges. Country isn’t my typical “go to” genre. As a kid I asked for a cassette player for Christmas because they had just come out with them. My Mom asked my brother what type of cassette I would like. Him, being a 12-year-old asshole, told her Motley Crue because that was HIS favorite band at the time. Enter my love for metal as I wore out “Shout at the Devil.” Country music was all around me because I grew up in the Midwest just as Lucas Hoge did. Fast forward to 2015. I moved to Northern Mississippi, just five miles from Memphis. Memphis is a city full of musical history. Many legends have been embedded in Memphis: Elvis, Johnny Cash, BB King, just to name a few. Sun Records, formally known as Memphis Recording Studio still stands as an active studio. The Orpheum has had many greats perform there and still does. Country music is also vast down here in the “Dirty South.”
I began with a bit of research on Hoges to see who this country fella was all about. I was shocked to see that he hailed from Nebraska and began his career playing in Christian groups. When I read that I immediately thought, “Oh shit. What have I signed up for?” It was at that moment I put researching aside and decided to let his music speak for itself. I cracked open an ice-cold beer on the deck and turned his music on.
“Power of Garth” was the first song I listened to. Hoges music instantly makes you reminisce about certain times in your life. He talks about being a 10-year-old kid and his Dad coming home from work and turning on “Thunder Rolls” and how many years later when he’d hear the song it would take him back to being a ten-year old kid. That’s what music does regardless of genre.
“Mad Dog Memories”…. THIS! This song is as midwestern as they come! Partying on back roads, in corn fields, around bonfires drinking some Mad Dog … Hoge knows how to take people back to some old school memories. I don’t know if they even make Mad Dog 20/20 anymore but I sure as hell am going to look the next time I’m out.
“Dirty South” is one of my favorite songs on the record because Hoge nails life in the Dirty South. He tied in all aspects of life here: magnolia’s, cherry cola, country gravy, Muddy Waters and Chevy’s. This is a very catchy tune and I could listen to this on replay. “Cover me up like country gravy. Underneath the shade of an old Magnolia. Let me chase that cherry cola with a kiss. From your lips”.
“Flip Flops” is yet another song that will take you back in time to your first road trip with friends. Hoge talks about leaving the farm for the beach with five buddies. He sings about being at the beach meeting girls and sitting under the moonlight. This track instantly took me back to Spring Break 1993, Panama City Beach, Florida at Spinnakers dancing in a mess of bubbles.
“That Ain’t Cool” has to be the song with the biggest message on Hoge’s album. Hoge sings about smoking as a teen and how he was caught by his father smoking and was told that ain’t cool. Further into the song he talks about being out drinking and getting behind the wheel to have someone take the keys from him with the same message of that ain’t cool. By the end of the song he had carried over the “That Ain’t Cool” message into his adult life by singing about being alone on a hotel bar with his wedding ring on and a girl hitting on him and ending it with “That Ain’t Cool.”
Hoge’s “Dirty South” album is made up of ten songs, all pretty much guaranteed to take you back to a certain timeframe of your life and have you reminiscing. Hoge’s style reminds me a bit of Thomas Rhett so I am sure Thomas Rhett fans will love this album. Dirty South is an album for fans of all ages which can be a big selling point among those with young kids. I’d love to see Hoge go out of his comfort zone in singing more about his present life experiences rather than all from his youth.