Some may remember Roger Hoover from his former band, The Whiskeyhounds, which drew quite a bit of press while releasing two albums of earnest alt-country--a band that was essentially just Hoover and whoever he played with.
But with his new project, The Magpies, Hoover has created a dynamic that is a bit more democratic--and the scope of the music has grown as well.
With the recent addition of keyboardist Justin Gorski to the group's fold, songs such as "Keep Me Away From You" and "Kisses For Free" (off Magpies most recent effort Strangers) have an organic feel, kind of like The Band infused with a bit of urban soul.
Interestingly, Strangers consists of songs Hoover wrote while he was leading The Whiskeyhounds. In this new context, these tracks sound liberated from the common singer-songwriter malaise. While a song like "Ain't Working for the Man" might come off as a sanctimonious stab at Dylan Lite when performed solo, it's got an optimistic vibe on Strangers.
In any case, Hoover's a talented songwriter who only needed to step back from his own ability to gain the perspective his songs truly warrant. Now, that he has done just that, Hoover's capable of going toe to toe with the likes of Rhett Miller and maybe even Ryan Adams.