RANDY ROGERS BAND: Carry On

Before Randy Rogers Band signed its major label deal in 2005, the Texas quintet carved out one of the most successful indie careers in country music, selling thousands of copies of its early albums while earning a reputation as one of the hardest working acts on the famed Texas/Oklahoma “Red Dirt” music scene.

Before Randy Rogers Band signed its major label deal in 2005, the Texas quintet carved out one of the most successful indie careers in country music, selling thousands of copies of its early albums while earning a reputation as one of the hardest working acts on the famed Texas/Oklahoma “Red Dirt” music scene.
So when Mercury Nashville came calling, it seemed like a logical next step in the band’s evolution; having conquered the Southwest and parts of the Great Plains region, the band saw the deal as an opportunity to greatly expand its touring radius, and to take its unique brand of fiddle-driven Texas Country to a wider audience.

For some fans, however, this foray into the commercialized world of big money country music signaled a move away from the band’s roots.

Rogers, the group’s lead singer and principal songwriter, thinks that’s an unfounded accusation. “I wrote the songs on that record just like I’ve done on every other record that we’ve ever made.” he says of Just a Matter of Time, RRB’s 2006 major label debut. “Every person in our band plays on our records. We have the same producer we’ve had since the beginning. We have the same management. We even have the same frickin’ crew. But I’m learning that in the music business, you’ve just got to have a tough skin. And I don’t let [the criticism] get to me like I used to. ”

“People are proud of being from Texas,” Rogers says, explaining the feelings of protectiveness he ascribes to some within the rabidly loyal Red Dirt fan base-feelings that sometimes morph into jealousy when a favorite regional artist springboards to national prestige. “I’m very proud of being from Texas, too. But if you think your favorite band is the best thing ever, and then you don’t want anyone else to know about them…to me, that means you don’t care very much about that band.”

And about that newly-thickened skin? Chalk it up in no small part to the growing up that the band has done since they began working on Just a Matter of Time.

“We’ve played 500 shows between that record and this one,” he says. “And we grew up a lot, just from being out in the real world. I just turned 30-years old, and maybe I look at the world differently than I did when I was just young, dumb, and in love.”

Indeed, there is a matured perspective that shines through on the band’s second, Mercury Nashville album, a self-titled record that showcases a contemplative and nuanced songwriting voice that digs well beyond the levels of emotional complexity reached in the band’s earlier work. From the swaying, serene ballad “One Woman,” which Rogers wrote as a pledge of dedication to his wife, to the powerful “Didn’t Know You Could,” a pulsing country-rock anthem that he co-penned with Micky And The Motorcars frontman Micky Braun, Randy Rogers Band is laced with stark truths and raw emotion, all situated perfectly within the album’s still-gritty musical settings.

And, even though some fans will inevitably deride the group’s commercial success-RRB grossed $2.5 Million on tour in a single year-Rogers says he and his mates are doing exactly what they’ve always done. They’re just doing it a little bit bigger, now. And, “Hopefully,” he says, “a little bit better.”

“This is our sixth record,” he explains. “We really wanted to raise the bar. Our playing is better than it’s ever been. And I’m focused. I’ve come to the realization that songwriting will be my life’s work.”

AGES:
Randy Rogers: 30
Geoffrey Hill: 29
Les Lawless: 33
Jon Richardson: 32
Brady Black: 28
HOMETOWN: San Marcos, Texas
FAVORITE SONGWRITERS:
Bruce Robison: “He has a great way of making love very real in his songs.”
Ryan Adams: “The sheer amount of songs he writes is incredibly impressive.”
Guy Clark: “As far as I’m concerned, he’s the king of all kings.”

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