Born and raised in Tennessee, songwriter Will Hoge made his name honing a blend of soulful Americana and heartland rock & roll. Over the course of his almost 20 year career he’s had a string of chart topping singles, TV placements, and media accolades along with nominations from the ACM, CMA’s and Grammy Awards. Although he’s grateful for the commercial success that songs such as “Even if It Breaks Your Heart” “Middle of America” and “Strong” have received, even more important to him is the freedom to stand up for his convictions and put them into his music when the time calls for it.
Never afraid to wade into political territory, Hoge has expressed his observations and frustration with human rights issues on 2004’s The America EP (“Bible Vs. Gun,” “Hey Mr. President (Anyone But You)”) and on 2012’s Modern American Protest Music (“Ballad of Trayvon Martin,” “Jesus Came to Tennessee”). But as conflicts continued and intensified, Hoge claimed “Silence couldn’t be part of my deal anymore.” Border police. Political corruption. Anti-intellectualism. Poverty. Gun control. A broken education system. Indifference to others’ suffering. Hoge confronts them all head-on with his new release, My American Dream, (out Oct. 5th on Edlo Records/Thirty Tigers), the fiercest, angriest, empathetic and most heartfelt collection of songs he’s released to date. This collection of eight tracks including “Thoughts & Prayers”, “Gilded Walls”, “Stupid Kids” and “Illegal Line” push Hoge — and his listeners — even further outside of the comfort zone.
Will is an avid activist, lending his time and resources to raise awareness and money for organizations such as Believe in Service and Everytown for Gun Safety. His social media pages are a microcosm of sorts for the wider conversations taking place in the world today, as he challenges his fans to examine the important questions that need to be asked.
In an era of Talent Show winners and disposable pop stars, Mark Curran stands out from the rest, not only as a singer/songwriter but as a bonafide Rock Star. Born in Ireland, and raised in the working class state of New Jersey, Mark was surrounded, and influenced by a plethora of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s finest. He spent most of his early years playing up and down the East Coast, honing and learning his craft.
Mark has returned to the live stage with his new band, Curran, blending hard rock hooks with country pop melodies, Curran are hoping to bring back a much-needed excitement to Music. Building upon great and honest song writing, Curran leave their hearts on the stage every time.
Now in its fifth year, River Town brings the music of America’s heartland to the south west in a summer celebration of roots and Americana music. With a vibrant programme of blues, bluegrass, country and gospel, 2019’s series is packed full of performances from global icons and rising stars.
In 2019 the River Town series takes place at venues across Bristol including St George’s
Bristol, The O2 Academy, SWX, The Winston Theatre at Bristol University SU and The Crofters Rights,
and also makes its first foray into Bath with two performances at The Forum. With artists including k.d. lang, Lucinda Williams, The Shires, The Mavericks, Keb’ Mo’ and Jerron ‘Blind Boy’ Paxton, it’s the most ambitious programme yet.
River Town began in 2015 under the banner of Bristol Americana Weekend and under a co-producing partnership between Colston Hall and St George’s Bristol presented Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Larkin Poe, Police Dog Hogan, Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham and many more outstanding artists of American roots music.
The festival returned after wide-spread acclaim in 2016 to feature Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Mary Chapin Carpenter and the now internationally famous The White Buffalo.
In 2017 we launched the festival for a third year under the new name of River Town and showcased some of the finest blues, gospel, country and bluegrass, from across the pond and closer to home in Colston Hall, St George’s Bristol and for the first time in O2 Academy. Three UK greats – Paul Carrack, Nick Lowe and Andy Fairweather Low – joined forces in a rare trio performance that celebrated their shared love of American R&B, soul and country. The compelling singer songwriter Martha Wainwright performed along with R&B powerhouse, gospel legend and civil rights icon Mavis Staples. Plus performances by duo The Shires with crossover stars Ward Thomas brought country-pop to Bristol.
In 2018 the festival expanded across the city as part of our Colston Hall Presents programme, showcasing events taking place in venues across Bristol during the Hall’s Transformation project. In it’s fourth iteration River Town’s line-up featured music icons Graham Nash and Rosanne Cash alongside The Barr Brothers, Steve Earle & The Dukes, The White Buffalo.