Will Hoge Scores No. 1 Hit for Eli Young Band

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Congrats to Will Hoge! According to Taste of Country, the long locally-loved singer-songwriter scored a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Country Singles chart this week with the Eli Young Band’s version of “Even if It Breaks Your Heart,” a song Hoge penned with Eric Paslay in 2009. The song has also topped the Mediabase Country Singles chart, which tracks FM radio spins, as well as the Canadian Country chart.

Check out Hoge performing his version of the song at a 2011 Music City Roots appearance above, and then compare it to Eli Young Band’s shot-on-Lower Broad video for their version of the tune after the jump.

Not only does this make for the easiest Pepsi Challenge ever, it’s an educational exercise in pinpointing how to take yesterday’s heavy-hearted, meat-and-potatoes pop-rock song and turn it into today’s mainstream country hit; all it takes is scrapping any vocal rasp, laying on the Southern accents, over-enunciating like a motherfucker and shellacking the track in a doubled layer of weepy pedal steel. Basically, if you took Tom Petty’s “Learning to Fly” and dressed it up in cowboy boots and a 10-gallon hat, it would sound like Eli Young’s version of Will Hoge and Eric Paslay’s “Even if It Breaks Your Heart.” And that’s how you make a hit these days.

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