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For Randy Rogers Band, it's just a matter of time

By Dawn Pomento, October 2006

Randy Rogers has an expressive voice. He can convey conflicting emotions, like the resigned, but playful tone that kicks off his new CD "Just a Matter of Time" on the line "This might be a good time to say good-bye. I can't think of a single thing we haven't tried" from "Better Off Wrong."

When Rogers calls on his cell phone from his tour bus, his voice conveys mostly weariness. He's on his way to Wichita Falls, Texas from his home in Austin.

"We're headed up to do a gig. Today starts pretty much the rest of my fall. I don't think I get to come home except for maybe a day or two until Dec. 12. I'm out with Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert for about 42 shows all across the country, from New York to Seattle to Los Angles to Florida. It's gonna be all over the country."

Rogers and his band are used to big crowds and faithful fans in Texas, but "Just a Matter of Time," the band's fifth CD and first on a major label, Mercury Records, is garnering unexpected acclaim across the country.

"Every time that people get excited about your project or what you're doing, it catches you a little bit by surprise," Rogers says. "I'm very thankful for it. It's been a long road getting here. We've burned up the highway for a number of years, and so hopefully this new record and the hype that it's getting, I can say with confidence that we've worked for it."

When asked how recording for a major label was different from his last recording experience (Smith Music Group), Rogers says, "We just had more time. Time is everything when it comes to the studio. When we made 'Rollercoaster,' we made it in four days, and this record was made in four or five weeks. So, just the ability to spend more time on it makes all the difference."

The band was courted by other labels, but finally went with Mercury. "They signed us as a band, which was a selling point for us, and they agreed to let Radney Foster, our producer, produce it. Radney probably had more freedom than we did, but we trust Radney to make a good record on us. You know Mercury just kinda sat back and let Radney do his thing and let us do our thing in the studio and let us write the songs. There wasn't a whole lot of pressure."

Foster had also produced "Rollercoaster."

Fans of the live shows will be glad to know that the latest CD doesn't vary wildly from the band's signature sound, which is country with liberal traces of rock and roll.

"You know we go in and play on our own record," Rogers says. "What you see is what you get. We didn't set out to make any particular records. We just set out to make a record that represents who we are."

The band is largely defined by Rogers, who started out performing solo at open mic nights while he was earning his degree in public relations with a minor in business at Texas State University in San Marcos.

But Rogers explains that he didn't play gigs on his own before he formed a band. He sometimes performs acoustic solo shows now. But mainly he makes music with the band. It's what he always wanted to do.

"A lot of what goes into the band isn't necessarily the most talented person, but the person with the biggest heart. I put the band together in San Marcos in 2000, and every band member left me at some point."

"But in current form, we've been together four and a half or five years. The first band members, some of them got married, some of them graduated and got real jobs. None of them left on bad terms. But people's lives change."

"I only knew I wanted to have the band, and I knew that I wanted to work, and I knew that I wanted to be a musician. And I just basically found other people who were willing to do that same thing. It is a lot of sacrifice especially in the beginning, but I just found guys who were willing to make those sacrifices."

The guys who have been willing to sacrifice and now share in the increased success are also in large part responsible for the rocking sound.

Drummer Lew Lawless in particular provides a strong rock and roll beat that could transfer to any traditional rock band. Jon Richardson on bass and Geoffrey Hill on guitar could also be right at home in a powerhouse rock band. But they're balanced by Brady Black on fiddle, which anchors the music in the country realm - along with Rogers' voice.

Rogers says, "My songwriting is definitely country. And my singing is country. I couldn't be rock and roll if I tried. I think basically it's a combination of country songwriting and country melodies."

The skillful songwriting and strong melodies are the things that make the Randy Rogers Band stand out from other groups. It's obvious that he started out as a singer/songwriter, but there's a deeper reason for the Rogers band sound.

Rogers says, "My dad's a preacher. I was always in choir. And then started garage bands, but nothing serious until college."

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