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MP3 Nathan Rogers - True Stories

Nathan Rogers has taken his great respect for the Canadian folk tradition and mixed it with instruments from other countries, added a heavy dose of Delta Blues, a touch of bluegrass and included the mean fiddling of J.P. Cormier and Downtown Dale Brown.

11 MP3 Songs
FOLK: Modern Folk, WORLD: World Fusion


Nathan Rogers has shown without a shadow of a doubt that he is a master of all styles and arrangements of roots music in his debut CD, True Stories. He takes you from groovin'' Cajun Blues in Can''t Sit Still and The Packhorse Blues. Beautiful, evocative ballads include Mary''s Child, The Rising Tide and Three Fishers. A fiddle-propelled reel, The Ballad of William and John Gibson, tells about an alien abduction on the prairies of Saskatchewan and showcases the talent that explodes when Nathan invites J.P. Cormier into the studio. Kill Your TV begins with the rare and out of the ordinary proficiency Nathan has at Thubban throat chanting. No, that is not a didjeridoo you are hearing. Nathan really can sing two different notes at once. Tuesday Morning takes us full circle to good ole'' fashioned rock and roll but it keeps within the folk tradition by spinning a good yarn. Nathan truly has shown his musical ability by stretching out and giving something for everyone.


Nathan has long held a respect for traditional folk and roots music but it is his devotion to innovation that brings the music into the 21st century. How does Nathan describe his own music? An interview with Roddy Campbell in the 2004 summer edition of Penguin Eggs tells all.


"That tune is probably a hundred years old. The first recordings of it are by people like Doc Watson and Clarence Ashley. One of the best recordings is by Mike Seeger on a four-string banjo playing three-finger style. [On True Stories] we have it on claw-hammer and fiddle. It''s almost the same tune but with subtle variations. If Mike Seeger were to listen to Duncan and Brady and have the instrumental come up, he would go, ''Oh, there''s Needle Case.'' We have been honest enough about the tradition but we''ve put a little spin on it. The feel of the tradition, to me, harkens us back to another time and so it becomes timeless."


"In a place called Ste-Marie, amongst the Huron, that''s where the story''s based. . . The European fur-traders, who preceded the Jesuits, brought the first diseases. The Jesuit priests went out there with genuinely good intentions. They went, ''Oh, look at the terrible conditions! These people need our help We''re sticking around,'' not realizing their presence was the final nail in the coffin. It was a very sad situation." It is a tale of good intentions paving the way to hell. The Jesuit missionaries, rather than helping the Huron unknowingly carried more diseases to the villages that had already been hit with deadly viruses. Many consider this to be a fundamental example of Nathan''s writing at its best.


"The first Greyhound bus terminal was in Hibbing. It was a huge mining area at one time. Tons and tons of the raw material used to make warships for the US Navy came out of that pit. There was a huge unionist movement there at one time. Mitch [Podolak] and I were discussing that. So I went home and I picked up my 12-string and wrote about 80% of it within 20 minutes. It came very very quickly."

Nathan, at a later time also noted, "Hibbing reflects a profoundly sad and honest picture of hard labour in the 1940''s and 50''s small town America. So Hibbing can equally be called a country song and a tribute to the working class."


To all those Stan fans out there, he didn''t actually write this one. The lyrics are by Charles Kingsley, more often noted for his book The Water Babies. The music was written and arranged by Garnet Rogers. What does Nathan think of this ballad?

"It is an exceedingly powerful song. ''Men must work and women must weep'' isn''t exactly how I feel. I don''t feel the gender boundaries have to divide our labour. But I do have a certain respect for the fishing culture and that is where the nod is really aimed. It''s for the people of Canso (Nova Scotia). There are beautiful people down there."


Tuesday morning is a rock n'' roll song about a wonderful vision given to Nathan by fellow singer/songwriter Bill Bourne. They were walking one night when Bill had a wonderful vision. You''ll have to keep listening to find out just what it was.


Need I say more?

Nathan would like to thank the musicians who believed in his beloved project enough to contribute their time and talent to True Stories. A huge thanks goes out to: Downtown Dale Brown, Nikki Mehta of the Wailin'' Jennies, furious fiddler J.P. Cormier, percussionist extrodinaire Christian Dugas, Winnipeg''s favorite bassist Gilles Fournier, violist Richard Moody, and guitarist Murray Pulver of Doc Watson. Thanks also goes out to Rick Fenton, former AD and the producer of True Stories. And last but most definitely not least, Angela Browne for her fabulous on-the-spot photography.


I could tell you more, but let''s have the critics take the stand:

-Mitch Podolak, founder of the Winnipeg and Vancouver folk festivals

"I was scared to play this debut album, knowing the genealogy of young Mr. Rogers - son of the Canadian folk icon Stan and nephew to Garnet. There are enough pitfalls that loom for a young musician. No one needs those huge shadows in addition. Fear not, Nathan has all the tools to make his own way proudly. True Stories is a terrific first step." - Penguin Eggs Review

"True Stories is a terrific first step and makes me want to fast forward to hear what he (Nathan will) be doing when he''s 34"
- Les Seminiuk, formerly of the CBC and currently on the board of directors for the Calgary Folk Festival

"This album is all Nathan - a rollicking yet earnest 39-minute outing that encompasses keening arrangements, quiet reflection and angry anti-consumer rants all at once. If anything, some fans will be drawn to this disc by the family connection. They''ll stay because of songs such as Hibbing, a wistful ode to Bob Dylan''s hometown; The Ballad of William and John Gibson, a fiddle-propelled reel about alien abduction in the Prairies; or the visceral power of Kill Your TV, an angry observational anthem for Nathan''s generation (which is that of the G7 Welcoming Committee and of riots in Quebec City). Rogers . . . will move men and women to tears with his sound and his conviction. That will be a true story, too.
-John Kendle, Uptown Magazine

"Nathan''s voice is aging like fine wine, inching closer to his father''s baritone. All I can really say is that Nathan Rogers and Dale Brown do more than play songs and tell stories for you; they provide you with an experience you will never forget. You may not understand nor be able to articulate it, but you will know just how deeply their music has affected you."
- Broose Tulloch, CKUW 95.9 FM

"I was lucky enough to have Nathan approach me to produce his album. He is an extremely hard worker. I have never seen anyone his age work so hard on his lyrics and guitar playing... I am very proud of the the result (True Stories)."
-Rick Fenton, former Artistic Director of the Winnipeg Folk Fest and producer of True Stories

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