In the current musical landscape genre is everything. It defines not just a band’s music, but also an attitude and a way of life in some cases. Yet, this seems to have reached a baroque pitch, as bands and artists are more concerned with image and public identity and less about the music. At times it seems that sense has lost value in the struggle for the all mighty dollar. However, true artists persevere and continue to make music that is impossible to define, though not out of a desire to be different. These songsmiths forge down the unbeaten path with a vision onto themselves. It’s a tough row to hoe, but those that persist reap the rewards of a music that can remain timeless in its ability to blend something new with a sense of classicism. Songwriters like Dylan and Springsteen paved the way for artists like Ryan Adams and A.A. Bondy. Will Hoge is another songwriter that is forging through that wilderness. Hoge says that his interest in music started as it did with many, his parents’ record collection. “My father had this great record collection of everything,” he explained. “’60s rock and roll stuff, singer songwriter stuff like James Taylor and Bob Dylan, to the Beatles and the Stones. Then he had great country stuff like Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, and James Brown and R&B stuff too.” His first real experience with music in a live format came in his early teens at a Bo Diddley concert at a dive bar that his dad snuck him into. Despite the location, the show instantly struck something in him and began putting him down the path toward his calling. “It was like getting religion,” he said. “I was completely blown away by the whole thing; the sights, the sounds, the smells. It was in this crappy bar and it was really loud.” Despite this instant connection, Hoge said he didn’t begin playing music until his last year of high school when he got his first guitar. Shortly after beginning college he joined a band. Regardless of the current hair metal trend that most of his friends were listening to at the time, Hoge found himself to be continually drawn to those old records of his father. Those varied influence come through in his songs, blending country and rock with the singer/songwriter tradition of introspection and storytelling. It’s this throw back style, this passion for music as it is meant to be played that drives Hoge’s live sound, which he said is his favorite part of the job. That is one thing that comes across in conversation with him; he is a constant professional and in turn; That is what he surrounds himself with. While Hoge does write and sing the songs, his backing band is an integral part of what he does. The company he keeps allows him the ability to change songs to fit the mood or venue he is playing. “There’s some songs that we have two or three different versions of, ” Hoge explained. “There’s songs we’ve recorded acoustic, then we’ll work up a stripped down band version to play, then something for a full band acoustic and then we’ll work on a full band rock version too. That’s the best thing about having a great band, having the ability to do that, that’s part of the fun.” While Hoge is hard to pin down musically, he feels that he is not alone. He cites bands like The Avett Brothers and Drive-By Truckers as other acts that share a similar style of working, a kind of musical brethren. “Those are the guys that I feel there is a bit of a kindred spirit with,” Hoge added. “There’s a lot of bands, that I don’t necessarily think we sound the same, but we’re built on the same model of you make the music you want to make and you don’t worry about if it fits into country or rock. I think the parameters of music have kind of gone out the window.” Will Hoge and his band are currently on tour in support of his new record “Seven,” and they will be burning a path to the Beachland Ballroom on November 16. Canton favorite The Big Sweet is also on the bill.