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MUSIC BOX: Rogerson true to country’s roots
Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Over the years, contemporary country music has become a very polarizing genre. The fervor for the Nashville pop performer still exists in America. But for those that can’t connect with today’s inundation of cliches and overproduced sound, they’re left fumbling for the dial after the opening chord. That this Pavlovian reaction exists to country music is a shame because it has cast a shadow on genuine talent living outside of “Nashvegas.”
Take for instance the talented Jared Rogerson, who plays this weekend at the Silver Dollar Bar inside the Wort Hotel. At first listen one could lump his sound in with the Blake Sheltons of the country world, missing the intricacies of Rogerson’s genuine songwriting, which captures, as he says, “the New American West.” And no, he’s not talking about sending text messages to his girlfriend on a tailgate at Walmart.
“Generally, I write songs about living life in a contemporary Western circumstance. Change of environment is happening faster in the West than anywhere else in the country. As a young kid I remember roaming the world as I knew it on my pedal bike among cornfields, horse pastures and dairy farms. You could smell the freedom. There were places that were all mine because I believed I was the only person who knew about them,” Rogers writes. “With all those strip malls and traffic lights, it’s almost impossible to envision where my ‘stomping grounds’ once were. In the grand scheme, it was a sudden change and has had a huge impact on me and I’m sure it comes out in my songs.”
This approach to the changing Western landscape through songwriting has garnered fans from all walks of life. Rogerson’s 2012 release, Peace, Love and Horses, earned a nomination for best country album by Independent Music Awards, as well as a spot on the Wyoming Art Council’s artist roster.
It’s no surprise that Rogerson would meet success in music since his ambition has earned him a master’s degree in biology from University of Nebraska and a trip to the NCAA National Rodeo Championships in bareback riding. What is remarkable is that his focus on music as a career didn’t come until later in life after an injury on the national rodeo circuit forced him to reevaluate his priorities. As a child, Rogerson recalls, “I didn’t go out of my way to seek musical opportunities, even though I wanted to. I was really kind of shy about it and I guess I was really just lacking confidence. But after some years go by, you realize that certain things are just part of who you are … your genetic code.”
A resident of Pinedale for 10 years, Rogerson is continuously writing news songs and hopes to perform a few cuts for the crowd at the Silver Dollar Saloon. Backing up Rogerson will be the Ryegrass Riders, a group of musicians from Western Wyoming and Bozeman, MT. As Rogerson puts it, “If you wanna dance, the music is great for that. If you just wanna listen, these original songs will keep you engaged. We’re just looking forward to having a great couple of nights in Jackson at the Wort.”
Jared Rogerson and The Ryegrass Ryders, 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at the Silver Dollar Bar. Free. 733-2190.