Nathan Rogers | True Stories

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Folk: Modern Folk World: World Fusion Moods: Type: Vocal
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True Stories

by Nathan Rogers

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.
Genre: Folk: Modern Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Ballad of Duncan and Brady
3:22 $0.99
2. Mary's Child
4:29 $0.99
3. The Packhorse Blues
2:56 $0.99
4. Hibbing
4:27 $0.99
5. The Rising Tide
2:56 $0.99
6. Tuesday Morning
2:35 $0.99
7. Hold the Line
3:00 $0.99
8. Can't Sit Still
2:13 $0.99
9. Three Fishers
4:05 $0.99
10. The Ballad of William and John Gibson (Part One: Spark of Life)
3:13 $0.99
11. Kill Your TV
5:13 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

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 gets you groovin in Can't Sit Still and The Packhorse Blues. True Stories contains beautiful, evocative ballads like Mary's Child, The Rising Tide and Three Fishers. A fiddle-propelled song, 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 Tuvan Throatsinging. 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 the late, great Mike Seeger were to listen to Duncan and Brady and hear 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 idea. You'll have to keep listening to find out just what it was.

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



to write a review

William Morris

A great listen, start to finish
Nathan's guitar work is exquisite, a perfect compliment to the subject matter. His cover of "Three Fishers" had me in gooseflesh from the moment it started, and the poignancy of "Mary's Child" never fails to touch me. Nathan, if you're ever in Kansas City and want a good cup of coffee, look me up: I want to watch your hands as you play and see what I can learn. Nice work.


One of my new favourites
I opened this CD and played it the minute I pulled it from my mailbox. From the samples, I was expecting something wonderful and I wasn't disappointed. The songs all sound fresh and new yet still connected to the web of music Nathan must certainly have around him. There's no song that I don't like, and I have several favourites for several reasons. "Kill Your TV" makes me shiver, and it's that one I played several times again after the CD was finished its first time. The lyrics and music mesh to make this a strong and powerful message. "Hold the Line" talks to my inner history lover and also gives a timely message for today. "The Ballad of William and John Gibson" is creepy and cool and sort of like a really good X-Files episode. And it's got sequels! I love it.

It's also great to hear J.P. Cormier at work. I'm a big fan of the music of Cape Breton, and he's one of their best. The mix of story songs and blues and folk-rock work well together in this album. I''m enjoying it very much and I look forward to hearing more.

Jenni Komarovsky from Acoustic Routes Nelson June 2005 newslette

Great debut album, look forward to hearing more from this artist.
I love to set tuneful traps and pose musical quizzes for friends and family, and I was delighted with the results of my most recent one; I played each of my family members a track from Nathan Rogers’ debut album, asking “Who is this?” Reply 1: “Oh HIM again.” Reply 2: “That Canadian fella you’ve been obsessed with for the past two years.” Reply 3: “Stan Rogers of course.” And then I sat and waited for the certainty to waver and the brows to furrow: “No hang on, perhaps not...” Gotcha!

Nathan Rogers does sound more than a little like his old man, and his first album shows huge promise for the future. He’s a strong guitarist with a big voice and the album has a nice variety of songs, all except one self-penned. These range in style from folky and lyrical (Mary’s child, Hibbing, The rising tide) through bluesy (Packhorse Blues, Can’t sit still) and rocking (Tuesday morning). Toe-tappers are The ballad of William and John Gibson and the traditional Ballad of Duncan & Brady. A couple of protest songs (Hold the line, Kill your TV) add some energy. There’s also a sensitive version of Three fishers (words by Charles Kingsley, music by Garnet Rogers) which I actually prefer to Stan’s recording – from this obsessive Stan fan, that’s something! And each of them tells a good story (which of course is the main requirement for a folk song – all discussion and argument to be taken off list please).

As well as talent, Nathan has been blessed with strong backing musicians – fabulous fiddling! – and backing vocalist Nicky Mehta, whose contributions lift the recordings from good to great – her voice complements his and blends beautifully.

Criticisms – Nathan’s lyrics sometimes “tear and strain to rhyme”; I think time and experience will hone his craft. And please, realise that people over 40 like to read the album covers too, could we have a READABLE FONT? Nathan’s naked rear view, while very pretty, also didn’t seem to add much to the album cover, I bought it for the ear candy and not for the eye candy.


True Stories
I have been a folk fan for ages. The Beatles were my first inspiration but then my brothers brought back music influences for their 'little brother' to hear from university.

I loved listening to Stan and Garnet, and I can't help but hear both of their influences in Nathan's music.

I'll be playing, and playing along with this CD a bunch in the next little while. It is such an apt continuation of the music of the 'Rogers' clan.

In fact, I woke up last night with Northwest Passage, Farm Auction and Three Fishers going 'round and 'round in my head.

No annoyance though....I just closed my eyes and went back to the 'concert' !

RMP...Rondeau, Ontario

Len Jaffe

An interesting start...
It is a rare thing that the offspring of famous stars shine as brightly. Nathan's debut is enjoyable, and certainly worthy of close and repeated listenings. He will invariably be compared to his father, Stan, and his uncle, Garnet, and until he establishes himself with his very own persona, Nathan is going to be stuck with that. His music shows great promise, and I would be interested in hearing his sophomore effort upon its release. An auspicious beginning that is definitely worth a follow up, and hopefully, soon. Nice work, Nathan!

Mary Bertke

Excellent CD
I give this CD an excellent 4/5 stars.

Nathan's voice is lovely, his guitarwork grand, his song writing capabilities sensitive and well-honed. I particularly love the drive and inspiration of Tuesday Morning, the pathos of Mary's Child, and the entertaining, bluesy bounce of Packhorse Blues.

The weak parts of the CD: Duncan & Brady sounds very stilted - this may be because I long ago linked that song to a particular performer, and they're sung rather differently. In Mary's Child, there's one foul note from the fiddle. It would have been simple to edit it out, and as much as I love the song I wince every time I hear that note. The Ballad of Wm. & J. Gibson is a fine "spooky" song, but some of the lyrics are convoluted and need clarification to make a stronger story. I needed to listen a couple of times and then read the lyrics to become reasonably certain of the correct progression of events.

On the other hand, if that's all I can say about the bad points of the CD? It's pretty darn excellent. Snatches of tunes and lyrics continue to crop up at odd moments, and I've decided to learn to play my three favorite.


What an unexpected treasure!
I love this CD! I'm a long-time Stan Rogers/Garnet Rogers fan, and I didn't quite know what to expect from Nathan Rogers. It's an impressive debut from a gifted singer/songwriter, and I'm looking forward to his next effort.


absolutely love it!
CD is very easy to listen to. Nathan's version of Three Fishers is priceless! It has become a daily listen at work.


The previews were amazing - can't wait for the CD to come
I have to wait for payday to buy the cd - but the two minute previews I was allowed to listen to on the Stan Rogers website were amazing. It's a perfect balance of the things I love in Stan - a beautiful, controlled voice and great lyrics - and a more modern rock touch. I also love the backup singer - she's excellent.

Looking forward to hearing more from Nathan and seeing him perform in the States!


This CD is amazing.....if you listen very closely you can hear his father in his voice. I can't wait to hear more from him. If only we could get him to Eastern Canada for a show or two. If you love Stan you'll love Nathan. He has an amazing voice rich and strong.
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