Singer-songwriter Will Hoge stays true to form as he tackles head-on one of the most prevalent socio-political issues facing America recently in his new song "Thoughts and Prayers." Readers can press play above to hear the tune.

Hoge has often used his music as a vehicle for his beliefs: For example, his 2015 song "Still a Southern Man" argues against the necessity of devotion to the Confederate flag to maintain status as a true Southerner. "Thoughts and Prayers" follows in the same vein, with hard-hitting lyrics that leave no questions about where the artist stands on the issue of gun control.

"Another politician sitting far away / Doesn't matter how many people got gunned down today," Hoge sings in "Thoughts and Prayers." "As long as you can keep your re-election bills paid / You're just a whore to the pimp that's called the NRA." 

Hoge pulls no punches in "Thoughts and Prayers," and its gritty, acoustic sound makes the song's message all the more compelling. While the track specifically targets policymakers who "send their thoughts and prayers" in the wake of massacres such as the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting, Hoge tells Rolling Stone that he hopes to open a bigger conversation about the problem.

"To have a genre of music where people don't even feel comfortable being able to have that conversation, whether they're pro-gun or anti-gun, it's a sad place to operate from as an artist," Hoge admits. "Hopefully that starts to change."

Hoge says that his intention isn't to ruffle feathers in the country music world, although he believes there's a place for that, even with the risk of professional retribution.

"There's a Cesar Cruz quote that hangs in my wife's office that helps a bunch in these moments: 'Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable,'" Hoge shares. "When I have doubts, or fears, or questions, that always shines a bit of a light."

Hoge composed "Thoughts and Prayers" before a show in Denver on Nov. 5, hours after news broke of a shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas; 26 people were killed in that incident. It's the first country song to directly denounce the NRA and call for gun control laws.

"If there are any hopes for me in this song," Hoge reflects, "I'd suppose it is that: that maybe just more common-sense gun owners will speak up and stop being used by people who, in the end, care nothing about us or our families."

Hoge released his completely self-written and -produced album Anchors in August. The record is available on his website, along with a complete list of tour dates.

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