Garnet Rogers & Eliot Bronson @ Jammin Java, Washington DC - Apr 11, 2013.
This singer/songwriter is from Baltimore but lives in Atlanta now. He has the expected folk presence with acoustic guitar, microphone and a bag of harmonicas used for a couple of songs. His voice is more the star than his guitar, although his control of volume in his chords and fingerwork is effective and thoughtful.
He mostly strums with some light fingerstyle that works its way in as the 50 minute set progresses. He has soft, yet rich voice which is effective in bringing to life his original songs. His pleasant personality endeared himself to the crowd which was very much into his music. Everything was warm and full of enough quality to keep this modern folk stylist on your radar.
I first heard of this Canadian folk artist when I was filling out my record collection with Scottish legend Archie Fisher's catalog, where there is one collaborative album. His name came up again recently as his brother Stan Rogers has had his catalog rereleased, which I have been reviewing for Folkworld.
Sadly, his brother passed away in 1983 in a tragic airplane fire, but thankfully his Canadian sea shanty old school folk songs live on and have impressed me so much, that I wanted to see what younger brother Garnet was up to these days. I bring up this background sequence to let you know why I should spend less time finding angles and reasons to see older folk artists, and just get off my butt and go to the show.
There is little better in the musical world, then to see an old pro play great songs and regale a crowd with hilarious and interesting stories reflecting a lifetime of musical experiences around the world. Garnet Rogers was pure magic here tonight with gripping, funny stories that rank up there with Robyn Hitchcock, Joe Boyd, Robin Williamson, and all the greats I have seen over the past few decades.
But even if he never said a word, his deep baritone voice warmed over the crowd, while his fiery acoustic guitar runs offered a cornucopia of delight to feast on. He played much of his own work, a cut from his brother, and pulled the bottleneck out for a crisp version of "Corinna Corinna".
Also enjoyable was a Nic Jones song he did to keep his spirit alive and get his music out there, as Nic Jones has had limited performance capacity for several decades after a horrid car accident. Yet, it was hard to top his "Welcome to Hell" which was lyrically updated with events in the past week and had me in a Joker-grin for about five minutes (for those that know me, that is very hard to do).
This was fabulous and I hope he will continue to come down from his Nova Scotia home and play his music. I have little doubt that most everyone in the room tonight will be back for more.
First published @ dcrocklive.blogspot.com.
Photo Credits: (1) Eliot Bronson, (2) Garnet Rogers (unknown).