Singer Jim Hogg keeps his roots in Prairieville
If you’ve never met him, showing up for an interview with local country musician and songwriter Jim Hogg might seem a little like this: you pays your money, you takes your chances. The charisma is there – rugged good looks, slight side burns, booming voice, and mischievous, deadpan humor. Amazing singing voice.
But the truth of Jim Hogg is yet to be clarified.
The first thing you notice is his name-dropping habit. “Johnny Cash once told me I’m the biggest name dropper he ever met,” Hogg says wryly. Truth is, he really is rubbing elbows with the likes of Ricky Scaggs, the 13-time Grammy winner with whom Hogg recorded his two latest albums. Hogg has recorded at The Sound Studio in Nashville, and worked with much-sought after Nashville producer Mark Fain. Then there’s Keith Urban, Kenny Rogers, Alabama, Brooks and Dunn, Billy Ray Cyrus and Hall and Oates – all celebrity acts that Hogg has opened for.
“I once got a chance to meet Eddie Arnold. He was over the top,” Hogg, the name-dropper says.
But then, there’s the guy who talks about his wife Linda of 19 years, how they run a household and business together. She produces his weekly radio show, Sunday Mornings in Hogg Heaven, he points out. He brags about her photography, and his son James’s musical talent. This is the man concerned about his son’s English homework, and whether “Madagascar” is considered a noun. Another story altogether.
Or is it? you wonder. James, an only child just like Hogg, often helps his father set up to perform, then pack up, at local venues like Tommy’s Fishhouse.
“I’m doing this music because I want to get him interested in it,” Hogg says with a nod toward his son, who can play a mean accordion. It’s from children, after all, that Hogg claims to get lots of songwriting ideas for his co-produced children’s TV show Hollywood Hal, Rhinestone Al and the Wannabees. of Hank Williams Sr., Tennessee E. Ford, Eddie Arnold, Grandpa Jones, and Ernest Tubb.
A graduate of Tara High School and Louisiana Tech (where he earned a degree in English and journalism), Hogg formed his first band, the River City Good Tyme Band, 30 years ago during “the urban cowboy days.”
Over the years, he has put out eight CDs, and has appeared at many fairs and festivals, including an annual gig at the KLTY Celebrate Freedom in Dallas, where he’s performed several times to a crowd of 200,000 people.
But Hogg loves performing at local venues close to home, where his music seems more meaningful. Besides, as he’ll tell you, “there’s an ugly underbelly to traveling.”
His band has evolved into a team of diverse, talented musicians. It features Hogg on vocals and acoustic guitar; Murray Clark on steel guitar, banjo, and mandolin; Dennis Smith on upright bass, dobro, and guitar; and Grammy-nominated Nelson Blanchard on guitar and keyboards.
Next year, Hogg will host a regional TV show on Cox 4 called Louisiana Saturday Night. The show will be viewed across the state and will promote Louisiana music.
However, his real baby these days is Hollywood Hal and Rhinestone Al, the first locally-produced show for children since Buckskin Bill aired 35 years ago. “It’s caught on like prairie fire,” Jim claims.
Hal and Al has launched several CDs, including a Christmas special and Greatest Hits.