ROY ROGERS - Slide Guitar Master
Guitarist ~ Singer ~ Composer ~ Producer
Photos (C) 2004 Mark D McKinley
(June, 2009) - In April 2009, Roy Rogers released his first studio album in seven years with The Delta Rhythm Kings. The material on Split Decision is solid and diverse-- offering the listener new twists through creative arrangements and a strong rhythm section. Through the years the journeyman musician/singer/composer/producer has developed a slide guitar technique that executes a ferocious attack on the fretboard. Rogers' guitar prowess is demonstrated with skill and timing that unleases fierce slide work when the music demands attention. However, the master musician is quite comfortable performing slow ballads delivered with mellow finesse. Rogers is high energy and brilliant onstage... his slide work and finger-picking is astounding. Make plans to attend a live performance to fully appreciate this gifted artist.
- Mark D McKinley [Mark's Online Music Source]
mogswebsite.com: We've been awaiting the release of Split Decision - nice work!
Roy Rogers: Thanks, I am delighted with the way it has been received.
mogswebsite.com: How did you and the musicians that form The Delta Rhythm Kings join forces?
Roy Rogers: Steve Ehrmann (bass) is one of my oldest friends and was an original member of my first Delta Rhythm Kings. He has been back in the band for about 6 years now. Billy Lewis (drums) has been with me for almost five years and formerly played with Tommy Castro.
mogswebsite.com: During the days of performing with, and producing, John Lee Hooker... what inspired you the most?
Roy Rogers: The possibilities of where the music could go...and the combination/interplay of musical forces-especially the power of JLH.
mogswebsite.com: John Lee Hooker had a no nonsense, less is more, singing style... demonstrating a unique sense of timing - explain the importance of those two elements.
Roy Rogers: Like most great musicians, John Lee Hooker was 'his own man' in every sense, in style. His great voice and unique vocal phrasing, timing, guitar style all are important, but most important was his EMOTION and power of delivery. He could be absolutely stunning-I mean 'take your breath away' good.
mogswebsite.com: You've produced several artists through the years - what challenges face a producer in the recording studio?
Roy Rogers: You just want to do your best to help the artist convey what they want to on a recording-they don't always know exactly. The real challenge is how long it takes to get there! Pre-production is very important.
mogswebsite.com: Has anything changed or remained the same in recent years... as a producer and performer?
Roy Rogers: Technology is always changing of course, but otherwise, the fundamentals and the risks are bout the same to me. Actually, I am willing to take more risks musically now than before.
mogswebsite.com: Tell me about the inspiration behind your new release Split Decision...
Roy Rogers: I really wanted a different overall sound on this recording-with more of an 'edge' to it-however you wish to define that-so I was inspired by new guitar sounds, etc., as well as some different musical styles for the music. It is always fun to explore new tones and combinations of things, but that is also true of the lyrics. I co-wrote many of the lyrics with others and certainly was inspired by that factor. I like to work on a recording as a 'whole entity, and I find much inspiration during the writing process itself.
mogswebsite.com: The instrumental track "Your Sweet Embrace" provides a sense of calm - how a project is conceived ultimately translates into how the finished product is received - talk about the process of choosing track order on a disc.
Roy Rogers: Sequencing is ULTRA-IMPORTANT to a recording. I take great care in choosing song sequence because that will define the listener's feeling of the journey-hopefully a moving one.
mogswebsite.com: Muriel Anderson wrote a touching song for New Orleans just before the levee broke - an event that seemed inevitable. Describe the emotions that penned "Bitter Rain"
Roy Rogers: When I think of what happened in New Orleans after Katrina, it is a combination of sadness and anger. The song represents those feelings and is partially based on a letter/diatribe of a friend of mine about that crisis.
mogswebsite.com: "Rite Of Passage" introduces listeners to yet another side of your music - the saxophone adds a fresh twist. Neat composition, by the way! Was "Rite Of Passage" a composition you'd considered for a long time or an inspiration unique to "Split Decision?"
Roy Rogers: I had the chordal ideas (outline) for the music for a long while. I just had to come up with a melody that fit OK-and finally did after much effort.
mogswebsite.com: Share some road-tested wisdom for up and coming blues artists.
Roy Rogers: 1) Always listen, even to songs you've heard many times before, because you can always learn something new. 2) Never put 'music in a box', it survives by being renewed and re-interpreted with a fresh approach--building on the past. 3) Give it your best shot, it is probably the only one you will get. 4) Live performance should ALWAYS be better than the recording!
mogswebsite.com: What advice can you offer someone interested in operating a successful blues venue in the midwest?
Roy Rogers: Keep you ears open to new as well as 'tried and true' bands. Offer a diverse listing of bands for the listener audience-they appreciate that.
mogswebsite.com: Any future plans you'd like to share with our internet audience?
Roy Rogers: I may record a 'very different' Christmas album and possibly do a recording with a big band-stay tuned.
mogswebsite.com: Thank you so much - all the best!
(C) 2009 Mark's Online Music Source