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MUSIC BOX: Rogerson digs songs in form of ‘Dirt’
JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Surviving as an independent musician is much like working the dirt – day-by-day, song-by-song, gig-by-gig, and chipping into one’s own voice in an ever-changing landscape.
Pinedale singer-songwriter Jared Rogerson has been digging, progressing over the course of three studio albums. From 17 years on the bronc riding circuit to horse riding in the Sublette County backcountry, he draws inspiration from everyday experiences. His new LP, Dirt, was released this week and Wednesday he’ll celebrate with an album release concert at the library in Pinedale.
“People have been asking me, ‘Why the library?’” Rogerson said. “The Lovatt room is the perfect fit and size for a solo acoustic concert. It’s part of the library’s addition and is [fittingly] made of compressed dirt.”
Rogerson’s music has a modern cowboy-flavored vibe with an honest Western edge. His sophomore album, Peace, Love & Horses, was nominated for Best Country Album by the Independent Music Awards and was also ranked as the 12th most aired album as reported in the summer 2011 edition of The Western Way. It continues to receive regular airplay on several Western and commercial Top-40 Country stations in Wyoming and throughout the country. Two singles from the album ranked within the top ten on Europe’s Top 40 Hotdisc Country Charts.
That’s quite a step up from buying a $50 guitar during his sophomore year in college at Weber State and learning a few chords. A rodeo injury in 2007 (Jared sports an L-shaped scar on the inner joint of his riding arm where the biceps tendon was re-attached) spurred Rogerson into taking his music more seriously. He credits the music of George Strait, Brad Paisley, Steve Earle (Copperhead Road was his first cassette tape), and especially Chris LeDoux who Rogerson says, “cleared a trail for artists like us to have a place for our songs.”
Three years after his injury (which was not his worst), the self-described late bloomer who had never played with another musician, purchased a four-track recorder and produced/recorded his debut album of original music, Bad Hay. In the spirit of following his dream of being a songwriter and sustaining a career, he felt as though he needed to step it up from there.
“Brenn Hill [an award-winning Western singer-songwriter] is my producer. He’s been a good friend and mentor of mine, and he’s always ingrained in my mind the idea of continually reinventing yourself and growing as a songwriter,” Rogerson explained. “These songs are a little deeper, a little different, but we wanted to expand upon the edgy Americana feel of my last cowboy record. When I first heard Brenn’s music, I really connected with it because of its subject matter … living life in the ever-changing, modern American West.”
As a research biologist concentrating on elk brucellosis for Wyoming Game & Fish by day, Rogerson has received support from the Pinedale community as well as the state. He received a $500 grant through the Wyoming Arts Council, and a couple of hometown fundraisers and individual assistance helped sponsor Dirt, which features a dozen studio musicians.
“I’ve had a lot of support in Pinedale, and I think the community really likes seeing a guy chase his dreams,” he said.
Jared Rogerson Album Release Concert, 6 p.m. Wednesday April 17 in the Lovatt Room at Sublette County Library in Pinedale. Free, donations suggested. Social hour 6 to 7 p.m., concert 7 to 8:30 p.m. JaredRogerson.com.