Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Jamiah Rogers ~~ Blues Superman

I’ve never met Jamiah Rogers, never even spoken with him over the phone or Skype, yet he was an integral part of a story I wrote about young blues stars titled “Young Guns Blazing” for Blues Festival Guide. If you care to read the article that showcases several young stars and what they face as the next generation of blues, take some time and you can find it at their website: http://bluesfestivalguide.com/emag/2016/#p=76.
Shameless self plug over. I found Jamiah to be a forthright young man, mature beyond his years, and by all accounts from those who had seen him and worked with him, he’s an amazing player. We’ve stayed in touch and I told him to keep me posted on his career and asked that he send me a copy of his CD when he was about to release it.
True to his word, I recently received a copy of Blues Superman in the mail along with a nice note, and I couldn’t wait to share it with you. It’s an economical album – only two players are listed: Jamiah on guitar, vocals, drums, and bass; and father Tony Rogers on bass. Father and son also co-produced the album making it a real family affair.
The album starts off with the title track, Blues Superman, and while it’s a little heavy on the drums, Rogers’ vocals and guitar are both very nice. It’s easy to see why he’s in hot demand in his native Chicago (nice touch on the Cubs logo on the back – okay, also the White Sox, Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks – don’t want to leave anyone out!) and frequently plays the major clubs.
Next up is a funky Bourbon St. Bounce. Rogers seems even more comfortable with his guitar and he seems to be having a fun time on this number. It’s a solid dance number with a great guitar break, but I wouldn’t have minded a little extra New Orleans flavor to take it over the top. Still think I’m going to play it on Time For The Blues.
He goes old-school on Gone Too Long, with a very cool Chicago sound. This one has a strong swing beat and the short choppy guitar adds a good sound. I could see this one getting fleshed out further when he performs it live – good song and very well written.
He follows up with some hard driving funky blues on Blues Mama. He’s turning out some good lyrics and keeping the production tight. It’s ambitious that he’s taking on all the instruments and vocals and I fully expect Rogers will continue to experiment in order to find out where his absolute best strengths lie. Can’t wait to see where that journey leads him.
The next track, Foolproof, contains some of his best vocals and more solid guitar work. Rogers is showing he’s got all the ingredients to cook up a great career – talent, drive, desire, and strong supportive environment, and did I mention talent? As he starts getting out more and connecting with audiences outside of his comfort zone, I think he’ll really start to flourish. At least, that’s my hope.
He really works his guitar over on Parental Advice. He slows things down, finally, and shows that he’s more than capable of handling different styles. Rogers comes off as more available, and runs down the litany of places he’s played – showing me he has paid his dues. I guess I was flat-out wrong about that get outside his comfort zone line – he’s comfortable in front of any audience. Let’s hope they start to find him in larger crowds!
Rogers is getting funky on Work, and he gets bonus points for including the line, “gotta make the doughnuts.” He also gets points for writing a good song dedicated to a strong work ethic. Between commenting on the parental advice he’s received and the ode to discipline in this song, it shows that he’s really had a lot of support and taken that all to heart.
He mixes things up a little on Let The Tears Fall. He’s got a reggae feel going on the guitar portion of the song. The link between reggae and blues is fairly strong, both originated from disenfranchised people who used the music as a means of protest and to get them through tough times. It’s a good effort, but not as strong as some of the other songs on the album. But, you have to explore everything to find what you want to do. Keep it up…
Some truly wicked guitar opens The Boy Next Door, and he’s got a very strong blues number going. It seems to be a very personal song, and his guitar takes on the guise of a second voice harmonizing with him and even making sounds like another verse. I like this one a lot and it shows a great deal of promise.
Rogers ends the album with Don’t Make Me Famous. I love the different sound from his guitar on this number and he really gives it a good workout. The lyrics have some nice twists and again, he’s showing that he’s a very good songwriter and as he continues to grow, he’s only going to get better.
It’s safe to say that I like Blues Superman a lot and feel that Jamiah Rogers could very well play an important part in the next generation of blues artists. Does this mean this is a perfect album? Nope, still haven’t found a perfect album yet, but it is a very strong debut album. I think he hasn’t hit his full stride yet, and I get the impression that he’s going to keep growing and experimenting with his sound.
It’s a good album to take a chance on, I can guarantee that I’ll be playing a few selections from it on the show to help you decide if it’s right for you. In the meantime, you can find some videos on YouTube and check out your favorite search engine to find more information.  



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