Summit Right Brain: Lee Rogers Band stacking up the winter gigs
IF YOU GO
Check out the Lee Rogers Band:
Nov. 26: The Brown Hotel, Breckenridge
Dec. 2: Goat Tavern, Keystone
Dec. 23: Snake River Saloon, Keystone
Dec. 28: The Brown Hotel, Breckenridge
New Year’s Eve: Zuma Roadhouse, Keystone
Born and raised in Austin, Texas, music is in Lee Roger’s blood. From the time he first picked up a guitar to his current decades-long career, creating music has always guided his path in life. Bouncing back and forth over the years from his hometown to the mountains, the Lee Rogers Band has become a staple in the Summit County music scene over the years. Now living back in the area full time, the founding member is adding plenty of gigs to the winter lineup.
The Lee Rogers Band will play Saturday, Nov. 26 and Dec. 28 at the Historic Brown Hotel in Breckenridge; Friday, Dec. 2 at Goat Tavern in Keystone; Dec. 23 at the Snake River Saloon in Keystone and New Year’s Eve at Zuma Roadhouse.
Although the Lee Rogers Band has changed members and evolved over the last 20 years, the current lineup includes Tony Black on drums, Andy Irvine on bass and Robert McDaniel on keys. Rogers describes the music as Texas blues, with some Southern rock influences, falling into the category of Kenny Wayne Shepherd or Gary Clark Jr.
“It’s a little more psychedelic, a little more rock, a little less classical blues,” he said.
Bouncing back and forth from Colorado to Texas over the years, Rogers first moved to Summit County in 1997 to attend Colorado Mountain College, choosing the area for school because of a desire for “ski bumness,” as he calls it.
“There were no ski mountains on Sixth Street in Austin,” he laughed.
Upon his arrival, a couple well-known musicians took Rogers under their wings, helping him get into the Summit County scene. The late Arnie J. Green and Brad Huff became his mountain music mentors.
“They were very special,” he said.
In 2004, Rogers headed back to his hometown to earn an audio engineering and music business degree while working for Willie Nelson at Arlyn Studios.
“A couple years later they turned that studio into a major recording studio, and now it’s probably one of the most coveted studios in the South,” he said. “For a good couple years I got to spend some time working in that studio, with some great musicians down in Austin, people you would recognize up here.”
This year, Rogers and his family moved back to Summit County, with plans to play shows throughout the state with his band, who all live in Colorado as well.
Rogers and the band are currently working on a project where they will record both in Denver and back in Austin, releasing the songs on their website as completed, rather than producing a full album. They will be playing the new tunes at their live shows, and then plan to get into the recording studio in early 2017.
Summit Daily News: How many albums have you put out throughout your career?
Lee Rogers: I’ve played on a few, recorded Lee Rogers Band on maybe two, engineered and produced three or four. … I haven’t done a recording or been doing any work in the studio since I left the studio business. Being a musician doesn’t necessarily mean that you like being in the studio. … I did that for several years and at the end of it I was ready to go back to the stage. And these guys that I have — I’m blessed. They are … probably some of the best musicians in a six-state radius.
SDN: Tell us about the new songs you are working on.
LR: It’s kind of an interesting project. … As I said, our sound is more of a Texas blues, so I would say the songs on it are more in the realm of a Gov’t Mule type sound, which we got to work with Warren Haynes and Gov’t Mule on the last couple albums, back in Arlyn Studios, so there was a lot of influence with that. One of the songs is straight out of the Gov’t Mule playbook.
SDN: How did you first get into playing music?
LR: Well it’s city law that you have to play Stevie Ray Vaughan, so I grew up doing that, or trying to. I grew up in Austin, Texas, in its hey-day, with so many great guitar players and musicians it just makes your head spin, and it was just the thing to do, the right thing to do.
SDN: When it comes to writing music, do you feel you have an agenda?
LR: I’m 38 years old, I’ve got four kids, I’ve got multiple companies, I’m not trying to change the world with my guitar anymore, but you just try to say something that makes sense to people.
SDN: What inspires your music?
LR: Growing up in Austin, Stevie Ray, Freddie King and a whole bunch of other guys that people wouldn’t know — Ian Moore, Jake Andrews. Those are the guys that I got to be inspired by when I was in my youth. … Back then you go to a couple of those shows and before long you’ll have the fever, and that’s what happened to me. I was really blessed that I got to come to Colorado, Summit County, when I was 18, 19 years old, and get away from such a competitive scene and get up where you can breathe a little bit. … It was really inspiring. I started playing with great guys. … Summit County was really sort of the diving board so to speak for me to get out of the Austin shadow and put my own band together.
SDN: What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
LR: Play with as many people as you can. No matter where you go, no matter where you are, play well.
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