Lucas Hoge has had a 2017 to remember. In addition to releasing his Christmas album, Christmas is Here, the singer also released his long-awaited album Dirty South over the summer. The 10-track record sailed to the top of the Nielsen Soundscan Country Album charts, and landed in the Top 5 on the Billboard Country Albums chart as well.
Hoge said that there are still some moments when he can't fathom that the results are real.
"I still can't believe it. It's amazing," he told PopCulture.com. "Everything that we've been working so hard for, finally getting the project out -- because this was a long project in the making. It took us a long time to put the project out. [There were] lots of great friends who were co-writers on it, and amazing producers. I got to produce half of it with my band. We just went into the studio and did it ourselves on half of these songs. So to know that it's reacting with the fans, and the fans are actually buying it. The pre-sales were ridiculous, and it just all came down to the funnel and it all worked. I couldn't be happier, and I'm so glad to get this out for everybody."
Dirty South includes Hoge's single, The Power of Garth, which is one of the tracks Hoge didn't write for the record, but it resonates as deeply with him as if he did.
"I grew up a huge Garth [Brooks] fan, but I did not write this song," shares Hoge. "It was pitched to me by Matt Rogers, a good friend of mine, who is an amazing songwriter. He co-wrote it with Terry McBride, who is really well connected with Garth."
Not only has Hoge been influenced by Brooks, but the lyrics of the song, including "My old man worked his fingers to the bone / But always made time for us when he got home / He'd grab mom and me a glass of tea and those old cassettes / That memory still as sweet as it was back then," rang true for Hoge as well.
"We were putting songs together for the album, writing and co-writing," Hoge explains. "I'd be a fool not to take outside songs from my amazing songwriter buddies. After the first verse, the worn-out tapes, and Dad and a glass of tea, and everything, I was like, 'Sold. That's my life in a nutshell.'"