Randy Rogers Band: Working hard, staying true to their roots
By TERRY MATHEWS | News-Telegram Arts Editor
Sept 5, 2007 - The Randy Rogers Band is riding high these days.
Their CD, “Just a Matter of Time,” was the number one country album download on iTunes after its 2006 release. They’re playing to sold out venues, and they’re receiving a lot of critical acclaim.
Rogers, the son of Baptist preacher, was raised in Cleburne. Music was an everyday presence in his home. His dad played guitar. His great-grandmother taught him to play the piano when he was six. He picked up the guitar and taught himself to play chords at age 11.
His musical influences include Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson and Don Williams.
�I fell in love with songs because of Merle,� Rogers said in an e-mail interview with the News-Telegram.�
Rogers’ choice of instruments has changed since he grew up.
�I usually play a Gibson J45, but I also have several Martins,� Rogers explained. �I can bang the Gibson around and she still gets the job done.�
Rogers paid his dues by playing with other bands for several years. It was during this time that Rogers’ concept for a band began to take form. He wanted a band made up of equals.
�I was in a band before as a sideman and was treated as a side guy and I hated it,� Rogers said. �Now, we all decide what we think is best in the big decisions, as well as for a show or a specific venue. It�s definitely a group effort.��
The band is currently made up of Rogers, Jon Richardson on bass, Les Lawless on drums, Geoffrey Hill on guitar and Brady Black on fiddle.
Rogers believes in paying your dues.
�Paying dues is always important,� he said. �I enjoyed the work and the miles in the van. Being up against overwhelming odds is a great drive for creativity.�
Rogers lives near Austin these days. His first CD, “Live at Cheatham St. Warehouse,” was recorded at the San Marcos music hall, first opened in 1974 by Kent Finlay.
According to Lone Star Music’s website, the little music hall south of Austin “has earned quite a track record for developing new writers and artists, and we are proud of the wealth of talent that has walked through the door and up onto the stage of this rustic old building.”
In those days, Rogers played the Cheatham St. Warehouse as part of the club’s weekly songwriter’s circle. It was during this time that Rogers discovered another Texas songwriter, Willis Alan Ramsey.
�I found about about Willis Alan at Cheatham St.,� Roger said. �I saw him play several times and I ate up his record.�
Recording the CD was “nerve wracking,” Rogers said. “We had no idea what we were doing. We just knew we needed a CD.”
The live CD was released over six years and 1,000 shows ago. Rogers has a new label, Mercury Records, and the band is settling into a routine.
�We travel four to five nights a week,� he said. �Nothing has changed much except the crowds are bigger.��
The band has a new CD set for release in January 2008.
Of the recording process, Rogers said, “We feel like ‘Just a Matter of Time’ was the best thing we’ve ever done, but we’re going to release a new CD soon, and hopefully, we’ll feel like that’s the best record, too. The idea is to just continue to raise the bar.”