“I don’t feel old yet,” says Randy Rogers when asked how he feels after 2 decades of making music with his band. “I feel like our group is really coming into its own.” He admits it might sound a little cliché, but he really means it, adding of the Randy Rogers Band, as a whole, “We’re good about ourselves.”
Led by singer-songwriter Rogers, the rock-tinged country ensemble behind hits like ‘Kiss Me in the Dark’ and ‘Too Late for Goodbye’ also includes guitarist Geoffrey Hill, Jon Richardson at on bass, Brady Black on fiddle, drummer Les Lawless, and multifaceted Todd Stewart on guitar, fiddle, mandolin and keyboards. Together, what they’ve accomplished is no small feat, spending the last 20 years bringing the country music tradition of their home state of Texas to the nation.
“I’m very proud that we’ve been together, the same five guys, for 20 years,” Rogers told the American songwriter, saying the biggest lesson of the past two decades has been learning who they are. as individuals, in turn. , become the band they are now. “We’re all a little bit different and what we bring to the table happens to be this consistent thing,” he explains.
“There are so many different scenarios and situations that we’ve been put in as a band and I think we’ve all taken elements out of all of those situations,” Rogers adds. These experiences helped create the band’s current sound, a seasoned and proud sound that can be heard on their new album, BACK HOME.
A love letter to their past as the group celebrates their milestone together, BACK HOME is just that, a real homecoming, taking the band back to where it all began for their ninth studio album.
The group recruited producer Radney Foster, who directed much of their early work, including the 2004 breakout release, Russian mountains. “Coming back and working with Radney Foster, after all these years, he was probably relieved that we weren’t the young men who had no idea and thought we knew everything,” jokes Rogers.
The registration process for BACK HOME was just as personal as the album itself. “There were definitely times when we wandered into the past, where we remembered certain things that happened on the days that we recorded these older songs,” Rogers shares, adding the same studio musicians , the same instruments, even down to the exact amplifiers that helped create the sound of Russian mountainsyears earlier, can also be heard on their new work.
It’s those little moments, the leader says, that made the process easy and fun. “We felt like we were doing what we always said we were going to do, which was going back to the original sound, to the original producer, and making a record,” he says.
This album is in no way the sequel to Russian mountains, but that is something else entirely. Rogers describes BACK HOME as “a rejuvenation of our youth all wrapped up in a record”.
The 11-track album is filled with bittersweet nostalgia as poignant and deeply personal songs tackle themes of losing love, wasting time and rediscovering memories once thought lost. . BACK HOME stays true to the spirit of the band’s early work, but also sheds light on where they’ve been and how far they’ve come.
“There’s a range of emotions on the album,” Rogers says, recounting the good, the bad, the booze.
The pandemic has brought out a lot of drinking songs for the frontman. “A lot of people didn’t know what to do with themselves, myself included,” he admits. “I was writing these dark, weird drinking songs.” It was a time he describes as quite dark, giving life to songs on the album like “Bottle of Mine” which he says is “probably the saddest song I’ve ever written… And ‘Over You Blues’, the same thing.”
With a moaning choir, Since you left / I poured them hard / ‘Cause now I got nothing to lose / I’m afraid to be sober / I can’t get over your blues, “Over You Blues” is kind of a throat-tightening song. The arrangement hangs like a heavy head, drunk and depressed.
“So I was like, ‘We gotta stop writing these drinking songs,'” Rogers continues. “We can’t just do an entire record of depressing drinking songs.” With that, he began to take a different approach to songwriting, saying, “I started thinking about those things that were important to me, like my family, like my dad, my kids, my wife, my group, my life, how lucky we have been.”
Rogers has spent the pandemic going through phases of not touching a guitar to writing a song a day to going back. He explains that he spent his time making music “really trying to capture all of these emotions that were going through my mind and my life.”
Rogers lost his father in October 2020 after a long battle with cancer. “Heart For Just One Team” was written in his memory, allowing listeners to experience a piece of his father in the vulnerable track. Recounting a childhood memory of the father/son duo attending a Dallas Cowboys game together and the bond they formed in “nosebleeds” that day, the song contains heavy yet beautiful sentiment.
The opening track, “I Won’t Give Up”, is another touching track, a love song for his wife. “No matter how messy the world is around us, I won’t give up on you and it’ll be fine,” Rogers said of the song’s message. When I said forever / Forever that’s what I meant / Yeah my promises don’t break / Hell they don’t even bend read the impassioned lyrics that are backed by an equally fiery and rhythmic arrangement.
Even though the emotions range from dark and desolate to gloomy and sentimental, Roger says, “I feel like it’s still a cohesive collection of human experience and to me that’s my job. That’s what I’m supposed to do.
BACK HOME is out now.
1. “I won’t give up”
2. “Nothing But Love Songs”
3. “Fast car”
4. “Above You Blues”
5. “Leaving the Town Side”
6. “Picture frames”
7. “Know that now”
8. “Goodbye Little City Girl”
9. “Heart for One Team”
10. “Where did you run away to”
11. “Bottle to Me”
Photo by Peter Zavadil/Sweet Talk Publicity