It must be difficult to follow in his father's footsteps when father is the legendary Canadian singer and songwriter, the late Stan Rogers, but Nathan Rogers is well on his way to achieving recognition in his own right. He's inherited much of Stan's talent - the powerful voice and a marvellous way with words - but he's very much his own man, as this CD, his second, well illustrates. Most of the songs are his own, but there is one from his father, "The Puddler's Tale", a tarditional balld, "Willie O' Winsbury" and, for fans of the genre, a bit of Mongolian throat singing!
Nathan underwent a short, and, by all accounts, a very well-received, UK folk club tour earleir this year, so we'll hopefully be seeing more of this talented young man. If this splendid album is anything to go by, he'll have a ready-made appreciative audience awaiting.
Nathan Rogers: Press
"Naamche Bazaar", Nathan Rogers, from The Gauntlet
This just in: Winnipeg folk singer Nathan Rogers, son of Stan Rogers, is a virtuoso Tuvan-style throat singer, and his new album includes a rollicking original song to prove it.
Greetings from Israel,
I'd like to thank you for the pleasant surprise I had today in recieving "The Gauntlet". Nathan Rogers is incredible. What a powerful singer. What an unusual mix of songs and styles.
The Mongolian or Tuvan style of throatsinging on "Naamche Bazaar" is the most outstanding I have heard by any western musician.
Nathan Rogers came down from Canada to join us in the studio prior to a terrific concert he played at The University Cafe in the afternoon kicking off his first tour of the United States. Our free-ranging conversation addressed his move into a performing career, his beautiful Laskin guitars, his forthcoming CD, and his efforts to balance his roots in a prominent musical family with his own identity as a contemporary singer-songwriter. Nathan's concert that afternoon showed him to be a master performer who earned a well-deserved standing ovation for what was his first United States concert appearance.
Nathan Rogers: True Stories
Nathan Rogers is a 26 years young, extremely talented musician and songwriter, offering on his debut CD – besides awesome singing – exquisite sleight of hand on the guitar. And WHAT a voice this feller has: a deep baritone with a timbre smooth as velvet. The style of his music is partly based on groovy, acoustic country blues, at other time the music mixes old time fiddle, folk and rock elements. The most moving moments are when Rogers sings softly and bootlicks to a spartanic guitar accompaniment. His songs do have a satirical, political bite; they are to the point and show well forged lyrics of emotional depth, like for example, “Mary’s Child” - an altercation with the consequences of the clash of European and Native American culture when French missionaries brought not only religion, but smallpox as well. Also very well done is the song about New York firefighters (“Tuesday Morning”) and the ballad about hard working people in the iron ore mines of the town of Hibbing.
Maybe the expectations placed on the son of the Canadian folk icon Stan Rogers are extremely high – he fulfils them effortlessly, with his own quality as a first class songwriter and interpreter.
Nathan Rogers: True Stories
The son of legendary Canadian folk singer Stan Rogers, Nathan Rogers is bound to draw interest. Fortunately, as a singer and performer, talent is hereditary. On this debut CD, Rogers melds traditional and original tunes that range in style from folk to blues to country to rock. He sings with the anger of Phil Ochs and a storytelling knack that emanates from his roots. His songs delve into Canadian life, the struggles of the working man in ‘Hibbing’ or the impact of the missionaries on the Huron people of Ste. Marie in ‘Mary’s Child’. Aside from his late father’s hairline, the younger Rogers’ inherited baritone growls with a timbre eerily reminiscent of his father’s. But even with almost a dozen musicians, Rogers’ voice and songs are at the forefront, and this delightful CD shows he has a promising future.
Nathan Rogers at Folk Under the Clock
Opening for Ember Swift
The legend continues with Nathan Rogers.
The son of the late folksinger Stan Rogers and nephew of folksinger Garnet Rogers, the latest Rogers to take up folk music is also becoming known for his singing voice, his songwriting, playing many instruments and “telling outrageously funny stories.” Rogers will be performing at Folk Under the Clock on Feb. 11 at the Market Hall, opening for Ember Swift.
“I love Ember. I think she’s a genius,” said Rogers, 26, in a telephone interview from his mother’s home in Hamilton. “To be mentioned on the same card, or be mentioned in the same context is massive. I’m really excited about this show in particular. Ember has totally got her own thing. She’s done her music her way; and people will be coming to hear that. What they’re going to hear out of me, because I only have between 20 minutes or half an hour or so, I’m going to put out the best material that I have in terms of my lyrical value. “
“Lyrically, I’d at least attempt to stand up to somebody who is such a good writer. This, I think, will be an opportunity to see that young people in this country are developing as writers and are very serious, whether or not we’re all that great, are very serious about the craft of writing. And we take it as seriously as other generations. We’re not all boneheads. There are a few of us out here who think and examine.”
While Rogers said he classifies himself as a folk musician, there are other elements that he adds to his music . . . country blues, delta blues, a little rock and roll, folk rock. “I like using delay pedals and stuff like that, so sometimes you get a little extra texture, sounds like maybe a couple of guitars.
I don’t know too many people that use an electrified stomp box. I have a box made from a reconditioned wine crate, a piece of particle board, a cupboard top and a cupboard facing. On the inside is a microphone for a kick drum, so it’s all padded. If it’s tuned in right we get this absolutely fat, fat rhythm against what I am doing on the guitar or singing.”
Rogers says recently he’s been working on Thubban-style throat chanting. “It’s similar but a little bit different from native throat chanting. Native North American style is a little more percussive than the Thubban style (style from the Himalayan area of Tibet, Nepal); and it’s characterized by long sonorous drawn-out sections with sort of bird-like variations in pitch.” He also does some improve that involves playing the guitar in four/four time and “stomp nice and heavy and do lots of that throat chanting in a couple of different chord structures.”
Rogers is no stranger to this area, although he hasn’t performed here before. “I’ve been to Peterborough before but only when I was a kid. I grew up in Hamilton but I have relatives in the area, an aunt and uncle, and my grandmother lives in Perth. I have friends in Ottawa and we go out to visit them.”
“Everything I hear about Folk Under the Clock is positive. Garnet loves it. Every time I know about a certain gig, if I ask Garnet, he’s done it before. He gives me a lot of feedback on it.” Through his uncle, he’s heard great things about the series. “If it’s cool for him, and he gives it a thumbs up, I walk in being very, very excited.”
Rogers is based out of Winnipeg, Man., where he went after finishing high school to get work, “stayed to educate myself and continued there for the music scene.”
Eclectic Mix at Folk Concert
Traditional folk to world, jazz, swing, pop, funk music
Folk Under the Clock Saturday night gave Peterborough the opportunity to see an eclectic mix of folk singers from the Canadian stage, presenting Ember Swift with guest set by Nathan Rogers.
Winnipeg-based Rogers (son of Canadian Folk icon the late Stan Rogers) filled the stage with acoustic brilliance. It is safe to say that regardless of the family tree, Nathan stands on his own with his brand of fusion folk. His performance at the Market Hall was intelligent and witty – his surprisingly self-deprecating humour is ill-matched to the magnificent powerfully clear lyrics and instrumentals that filled the stage. With great ease he seemed to effortlessly entertain and delight the audience with songs from his first CD True Stories.
Mary’s Child, a ballad with impressive lyrics, was inspired by the historical impact of the Jesuit priests who with all good intentions of bringing Christianity to the Huron Indians, also brought small pox. Not the most upbeat song I have heard but it was performed with great dignity from the point of view of a Christian brother sympathetic to the Huron; and the audience was really graced with Nathan’s powerful vocal range. Hibbing, another one of Nathan’s songs grounded in folk, paints a picture of the northern Minnesota mining town where the first Greyhound bus terminal was located, really showcased his talents.
As he introduced the song in his banter to the audience he said, “Now, I have never been to Hibbing Minn.. But my Dad had never traveled The Northwest Passage either!” And later in his set he did indeed treat us with his father’s ‘alternate’ national anthem, Northwest Passage. His songs spanned from tradition folk to Tibetan throat chanting . . .
In the 20th anniversary of Folk Under the Clock, artistic director Mike Barker continues to deliver a line-up of professional talent to our city in a beautiful setting at an affordable price.
Winnipeg's Nathan Rogers returns to the area where his name is legendary in folk music circles
The last name will be familiar to folk music fans everywhere. But Nathan Rogers need not be intimidated by the legendary stature of his late father, Stan, nor defer to his uncle, Garnet, both of whom cast long shadows across acoustic roots music in Canada. Rogers is creating quite a buzz on the strength of True Stories, his debut album released in the fall of 2004, not to mention his dynamic live performances. Kitchener acoustic music fans will be able to gauge what all the fuss is about when Rogers performs in concert Thursday at the Circus Room.
Born and raised in Hamilton, Rogers ventured west to help Mitch Podolak, founder of both the Vancouver and Winnipeg folk festivals, establish the West End Cultural Centre. He liked Winnipeg so much he decided to stay and he soon found himself immersed in the city's thriving acoustic roots music scene. In press material, Rogers describes himself as a "fusion folk singer/songwriter." Whatever that might mean, True Stories is a blend of traditional folk music -- he's very much his father's son and lists his uncle as an influence, along with Bill Bourne, James Keelaghan and J.P. Cormier -- and contemporary roots music with touches of delta blues, bluegrass, East Indian and Celtic rhythms.
A former religious studies student and enthusiastic historian, Rogers isn't afraid to write about issues, whether a it's a social commentary about the First World War (Hold the Line) or a Chomskyist rant about free thought in the age of mass media (Kill Your TV).He also claims to have written the first sci-fi folk song set on the Prairies, with the wonderfully unwieldy title of The Ballad of William & John Gibson (Part One:Spark of Life).
Produced by Rick Fenton, former artistic director of the Winnipeg Folk Festival, True Stories features guest appearances by East Coast multi-instrumentalist whiz Cormier, banjo ace Leonard Podolak (Mitch's son and founder of The Duhks) and Nikki Mehta of The Wailin' Jennies, among others. Those who follow Canadian folk music might recognize Rogers' brother David, a talented guitarist and vocalist who has toured and performed locally with Aengus Finnan.
Famous dad aside, Nathan Rogers is a folk force on his own
The resemblance is unmistakable: The same hairline and solid build. The same political edge, satirical bite, lightning wit and contempt for fools. The same vocal timbre that provides a bed for a rich baritone. The same way with words and melody. And yet, significantly, Nathan Rogers is very much his own artist, despite the similarities with his dad -- the late, great Stan Rogers.
Rogers, who has made Winnipeg his home for the past eight years after being born and raised in Hamilton, stood his own ground Thursday when he made his Waterloo Region debut at the Circus Room in Kitchener. He was grateful to have made the gig, explaining that he had rolled his minivan before crossing the Manitoba border. Equipped with six- and 12-string acoustic guitars and working up a good sweat, Rogers placed himself at the intersection of past and present with two sets of high-octane contemporary folk music. He drew generously from his impressive debut album, True Stories.
Rogers opened with The Ballad of Duncan and Brady, a revisionist take on a 120-year-old American folk song. His offering of Three Fishers, with words by Charles Kingsley and music by Garnet Rogers, his uncle, recalled his dad's moving maritime ballads.
He confirmed his talent as a songwriter with a handful of originals including Mary's Child, a chronicle of the clash between native and European; Hibbing, a tribute to Bob Dylan's birthplace; Tuesday Morning, a tribute to New York firefighters following 9/11; Hold the Line, about soldiers in the First World War; The Ballad of William & Gibson, a sci-fi folk song set on the bald Saskatchewan prairie; Kill Your TV, a Chomskyist rant; and a couple of somebody-done-somebody-wrong songs, The Packhorse Blues and Can't Sit Still.
Rogers also paid his respects with covers of mentors Gordon Lightfoot (Canadian Railroad Trilogy); Bill Bourne (including Moonlight Dancers); and Garnet Rogers (Underpass); not to mention a trio penned by his dad including Northwest Passage, a song voted Canada's unofficial national anthem in a poll conducted by the late Peter Gzowski.
It was interesting to hear Rogers press his own stamp on these familiar songs by underscoring their social content through sheer vocal intensity and passion. He also did a couple of a cappella rounds (again a reminder of lineage) and a couple of traditional folk songs (including There's Whiskey in the Jar). He even did a little Himalayan throat-singing.
It's not easy making your way as an artist in the shadow of someone who made the journey before you. And no one casts a longer shadow in Canadian acoustic roots music than Stan Rogers. Nathan Rogers seems to have the right stuff to light his way along a road of his own choosing. After all, it's a journey his uncle has made with distinction.
Nathan Rogers does sound more than a little like his old man, and his first album shows huge promise for the future. He’s a strong guitarist with a big voice and the album has a nice variety of songs, all except one self-penned. These range in style from folky and lyrical (Mary’s Child, Hibbing, The Rising Tide) through bluesy (Packhorse Blues, Can’t Sit Still) and rocking (Tuesday Morning). Toe-tappers are The Ballad of William and John Gibson and the traditional Ballad of Duncan & Brady. A couple of protest songs (Hold the Line, Kill Your TV) add some energy. There’s also a sensitive version of Three Fishers (words by Charles Kingsley, music by Garnet Rogers) which I actually prefer to Stan’s recording – from this obsessive Stan fan, that’s something! And each of them tells a good story (which of course is the main requirement for a folk song – all discussion and argument to be taken off list please).
As well as talent, Nathan has been blessed with strong backing musicians – fabulous fiddling! – and backing vocalist Nicky Mehta, whose contributions lift the recordings from good to great – her voice complements his and blends beautifully.
New Winnipeg singer-songwriter Nathan Rogers is stepping out of the shadows of his legendary Canadian musician father Stan with an album of his own.
NATHAN Rogers was four when his father died on an airplane. It wasn’t a crash, but a fire that began in a washroom and spread throughout the cabin of an Air Canada flight from Texas. By the time the plane was forced to land in Cincinnati, 23 people were dead from smoke inhalation, including Nathan’s dad, the folksinger Stan Rogers, one of the greatest Canadian musicians of the 20th century.
You can see a lot of Stan in Nathan Rogers, now 25 and living in Winnipeg. Nathan has the same bright eyes, male-pattern baldness and a voice worthy of comparison to his father and his uncle, Garnet Rogers. The son knows the resemblance will be noted. When he picks up the guitar, he becomes the Canadian folk equivalent of a Julian Lennon, Adam Cohen or Jakob Dylan. But after resisting the family business for most of his young adulthood, Nathan Rogers is stepping out with an album of his own, True Stories, recorded in his adopted home of Winnipeg earlier this year.
“I’ve been trying to be very careful about how quickly I jump into the music business, and more importantly, that I do it for the right reasons,” says Rogers, sitting in a Wolseley-area apartment he’ll soon vacate for a home just down the street from fellow Winnipeg folksinger James Keelaghan. “The biggest difficulty was deciding for myself this is what I wanted. Having done that, I’m OK with it.”
Nathan Rogers is a slender, animated man who speaks quickly but in long, measured bursts. His nearly bald head is framed by a short, pointy goatee, three metal hoops in one ear and a thick metal bar in the other. His body, which appears [partially] nude inside the jewel box for True Stories, is decorated with religious and spiritual imagery. A map of North and South America with creation myths from both continents reaches down from his right arm. On his back is a five-pointed star — not a pentagram, but a symbol from The Necronomicon, the ancient Sumerian book of the dead.
Rogers’ interest is no adolescent obsession. After moving to Winnipeg in 1998 — at the behest of Winnipeg Folk Festival founder Mitch Podolak, a close friend of Stan Rogers — he studied at the University of Winnipeg and completed a degree in comparative religion. But he has no plans to carry his academic career further. Over the past two years, he’s narrowed his focus to the music he first encountered growing up in the Hamilton suburb of Dundas.
Recorded earlier this year with producer Rick Fenton, another former Winnipeg Folk Festival artistic director, True Stories does not attempt to revive the traditionalism of Stan Rogers. It’s a contemporary folk album with a handful of historical songs (most notably Mary’s Child, which deals with forced conversions in early Canada) a little fantasy (The Ballad of William and John Gibson, an alien-abduction tale set in 1910 Saskatchewan) and one Chomskyist rant (the self-explanatory Kill Your TV).
. . . “I like telling stories and I really feel I have to make a contribution to folk music. I just had to make sure my delivery was not old school and there was something fresh about it. “Folk music becomes redundant when people don’t move it forward in subtle and sensitive ways. But I’m not d@*%$*g with tradition — that’s something else entirely.”
Rogers says he didn’t worry about how much he sounded like his father during the spring recording session. He was more concerned with his arrangements, enlisting the help of Winnipeg folk musicians such as drummer Christian Dugas, bassist Gilles Fournier, singer Nicky Mehta of The Wailin’ Jennys and banjo-picker Leonard Podolak of The Duhks. That said, the vocal similarity between Nathan and Stan jumps out when you hear True Stories.
“There’s a family tonality because of the genetic thing. Vocal cords, after all, are strings of muscle,” says producer Fenton, who worked with the elder Rogers during his days as a CBC Radio engineer. “I think Nathan has come to terms with who he is and where he’s going to be in the industry. He’s a very hard worker. I’ve never seen any musician his age work so hard on his songwriting and guitar-playing.”
Keelaghan believes Rogers has a “lot of talent and a lot of possibilities.” The veteran folksinger, who relocated to Winnipeg from Calgary four years ago, notes it’s much more difficult to be a singer-songwriter today than it was 10 or 15 years ago. “It’s a lonely road.” But Rogers has the energy to do the job, he says. “I think he has quite a future ahead of him.” Nathan Rogers isn’t alone carrying on the family name. His uncle Garnet is an established folksinger. His brother Dave puts out music in Ontario. His mother Ariel runs Fogarty’s Cove, the record label that releases most of the family’s music, (except Nathan’s debut, which is out on his own Halfway Cove label and distributed by Festival).
. . . Nathan Rogers speaks glowingly about the friends he’s made in Winnipeg. He showers praise on local folk musicians like Dan Frechette, Dave Quanbury and Alana Levandoski. “We’re putting Winnipeg on the map and I’m really proud of that — I’m proud of myself for coming here and it’s a great place to live,” he beams. “It’s nice to be in a town where pretension is not rewarded. I have certain pretences myself, but I like to think I don’t make any fancy bones about what I do. I’m just trying to be as honest as possible.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
His family casts long shadows across this country. And so it took Nathan Rogers several years of serious contemplation to find the confidence and commitment to make his own music. The 24-year-old son of Stan Rogers, and nephew of Garnet, finally recorded his debut, True Stories, this spring.
Songwriting most certainly runs in the Rogers' family genes. True Stories contains plenty of evidence to suggest an emerging talent clearly on the high road to notoriety. Like his father before him, Nathan nurtures a deep-rooted respect for traditional folk music. And yet he has enough savvy to infuse the traditional aspects of his recording with fresh and invigorating ideas; a blustery updated version of Duncan and Brady, a clear case in point. Not only has he given the lyrics a contemporary spin but fused the original melody to the old-time banjo tune, Needle Case.
"That tune is probably a 150 years old," says Rogers. "The first recordings of it are by people like Doc Watson and Clarence Ashley. One of the best recordings is by Mike Seeger on a four-string banjo playing three-finger style. Here we have it on claw-hammer and fiddle. It's almost the same tune but with subtle variations. If Mike Seeger were to listen to Duncan and Brady and have the instrumental come up, he would go, 'Oh, there's Needle Case.' We have been honest enough about the tradition but we've put a little spin on it. The feel of the tradition, to me, harkens us back to another time and so it becomes timeless."
Rogers' equally impressive lyrics also occasionally draw from the past. For instance, the wonderfully evocative, Mary's Child was inspired by the profound social impact of the Jesuit priests who initially arrived in Upper Canada with religion and comfort for the Huron but instead carried more diseases to native villages already rife with smallpox and influenza. Obviously an emotional tale, it's told with a great deal of dignity from the point of view of a Christian brother sympathetic to the Huron.
"In a place called Ste-Marie, amongst the Huron, that's where the story's based. I actually visited there when I was 12 years old. The European fur traders, who preceded the Jesuits, brought the first diseases. The Jesuit priests went out there with genuinely good intentions. They went, 'Oh, look at the terrible conditions! These people need out help. We're sticking around,' not realizing their presence was the final nail in the coffin. It was a very sad situation."
Just as enthralling is Hibbing, Rogers' insightful portrait of the northern Minnesota town with its massive, environmental sores of open pit, iron ore mines. Its genesis evolved from a conversation with Mitch Podolak, founder of the Winnipeg and Vancouver folk festivals.
"The first Greyhound bus terminal was in Hibbing. It was a huge huge mining area at one time. Tons and tons of the raw material used to make warships for the US navy came out of that pit. There was a huge unionist movement there at one time. Mitch and I were discussing that. So I went home and I picked up my 12-string and wrote about 80 per cent of it within 20 minutes. It came very, very quickly." And nary a mention of Robert Allen Zimmerman who, as everybody knows, grew up in Hibbing before leaving for the University of Minnesota in the fall of 1959. Still, there's an enterprising spirit abroad on True Stories that stretches from the subtle social commentary of Hold the Line to the riveting, yet bizarre, almost X-Files malarkey of Spark of Life.
Melodically, too, it ventures far afield from the East-Indian strings on Kill Your TV to the country blues of Pack Horse Blues. Surprisingly enough, for someone largely reared on the folk tradition, acoustic blues make several appearances on True Stories.
"I have been listening to a lot of Robert Johnson for the last couple of years. I've always liked the blues, especially Delta. Things like that did creep into this album and that is something that surprised me. When I had the tunes all lined up, I went, 'Jeez, there's three or four tunes that are really explicitly blues.' "Garnet got me hooked on that kind of stuff. Uncle Garnet plays National Steel guitars and he plays old Gibsons and things like that. I really get a kick out of the sound he produces in his shows. So I went and investigated it and that's what I found."
While Uncle Garnet was asked to contribute fiddle to his nephew's recording, he graciously declined. J.P. Cormier and Richard Moody took his place. Garnet, concedes Nathan, has been very generous with his advice and support. And his presence looms large on what surely must rate as the highlight of True Stories: Three Fishers - a beautifully moving tale of tragedy at sea. While written by English author Charles Kingsley (1819-1875), probably best known for the children's classic, The Water Babies, Garnet set The Three Fishers to music and Stan recorded it on For the Family. Nathan's casual but compelling delivery has every bit as much impact as his old man's. "It is an exceedingly powerful song. 'Men must work and women must weep,' isn't exactly how I feel. I don't feel the gender boundaries have to divide our labour. But I do have a certain respect for the fishing culture and that is where the nod is really aimed. It's for the people of Canso (N.S.). There are beautiful people down there." Nathan Rogers was just a tot when he lost his father in a tragic airplane fire in 1983. But he grew up in Hamilton, Ont., with his mother, Ariel. And when he turned 18, he left Ontario for Manitoba and a job with Mitch Podolak.
Understandably, it took Nathan until adulthood to come to terms with being the son of a Canadian folk icon. "That has been a long-time search, coming to terms with Stan's and Garnet's fame and acclaim. It's probably the fundamental formative thing that I had to get through, in terms of my music, and in terms of my life." And when he turned 20, Ariel went to celebrated Toronto guitar maker Grit Laskin and ordered a six- and a twelve-string guitar for Nathan. Grit had made Stan's guitars as well as his long-necked mandolin.
. "They are two of the, uhh . . . I'm getting a little choked up here. They are two of the most wonderful gifts I have ever received, very, very kind. The guitars themselves, their combined value is somewhere in the neighbourhood of $20,000 Canadian. Mom really decided that if I was going to do this, I had to have the best materials. And I really wanted those guitars, too. Those are awesome guitars."
With True Stories set for release in late June or early July, Rogers hopes to build enough momentum over the rest of the year to carry him into the folk festival circuit next summer. And while he concedes his heritage creates a certain amount of curiosity, it has its drawbacks, too.
"Being Stan's kid is a double-edged sword. Invariably people go, 'Nathan Rogers, is that Stan's kid?' And very often that will get me in the door. But when I get in there, there is more expected of me than there might be of somebody else because of the fact that I am Stan's kid. Sometimes people expect Stan Jr. I'm sorry . . . I'm just here to make my music. I genuinely love being on stage. I hate being in a crowd; I love being in front of a crowd. This is going to sound a little airy-fairy, but I want to make a contribution to the folk tradition.”
The Cracker Cats is one of Saskatoon’s hottest new bands and their latest show was opened up by east coast folk artist, Nathan Rogers last Friday, November 26th. For all the fans of Stan Rogers that came out to the show, they were not disappointed as Nathan Rogers proved to be as folky as his legendary father. His songs of traveling “out west,” boats, and love to the tune of east coast folk guitar and mandolin were well-received and very well-done. . . The tattooed and pierced Rogers even did a Stan Rogers cover-tune for the sit-down crowd that packed the Bassment. He easily won over the crowd with his farm-boy look, wearing green and yellow and a John Deere hat. His charming banter between songs helped as he talked up the Saskatoon crowd mentioning how “they didn’t even sleep in Regina. We did the gig and drove right through!” laughing in his 24-year-old, boyish manner . . . The crowd was an interesting part of the night. It was, as aforementioned, a varied crowd, meaning that there was a variance of age and reasons for going to the show. One woman asked me why all the young people were there and I said that I was wondering why the older crowd was there. It seemed as though we were all there to have a good time, just in different ways. . . All in all, a very good night for country folk fans and no one went home disappointed with the passionate showing of musical talent by all musicians. Anyone could see the bands enjoyed playing as much as the crowd liked listening.
He’s the son of the late, great Stan Rogers and he sounds like his old man and his uncle, Garnet. He likes to sing story songs and rugged ballads, just as his dad did and his uncle does. But make no mistake; Nathan Rogers is his own man. At 25, the Winnipeg-based singer/songwriter has faced enough in his life to be able to approach both his music and his songwriting with tenacity that comes from within.
The genetic traits help, certainly, but this album is all Nathan — a rollicking yet earnest 39-minute outing that encompasses keening arrangements, quiet reflection and angry anti-consumer rants all at once.
If anything, some fans will be drawn to this disc by the family connection. They’ll stay because of songs such as Hibbing, a wistful ode to Bob Dylan’s hometown; The Ballad of William and John Gibson, a fiddle-propelled reel about alien abduction in the Prairies; or the visceral power of Kill Your TV, an angry observational anthem for Nathan’s generation (which is that of the G7 Welcoming Committee and of riots in Quebec City). As Rogers grows and develops as a writer and performer, he will move men and women to tears with his sound and his conviction. That will be a true story, too.
I've never seen Nathan Rogers nervous before last night. It's understandable, releasing your debut CD to a crowd that includes Rick Fenton, Lloyd Peterson, Mitch Podolak, Johnny Marlow, and Kevin Walters to name a few. I can't say that I was a pillar of strength either, and all I had to do was mc. With few such opportunities arising to get the attention of those that can provide more opportunities, the pressure's on. But 15 seconds later, it was all about the music. It was eerie just how much Nathan . . . reminded me of Stan and Garnet Rogers, except for the stature thing. Nathan [is] somewhat shorter, but just as follicly-challenged and bearded . . . . Last minute arrangements, some right on stage were no problem. Mark my words, one day a thousand people will lay claim to being at this show. One minute, you are enveloped in a wall of sound lush and thick, and the next be hushed by the delicate melodies. Nathan's voice is aging like fine wine, inching closer to his father's rich baritone. All I can really say is that Nathan Rogers does more than play songs and tell stories for you; he provides you with an experience you'll never forget. You may not understand nor be able to articulate it, but you will know just how deeply his music has affected you. He has the potential to turn the folk world on its ears.