Sharing a career and sharing a tour bus 200 days a year can result in some eerily similar ideas. “It was kind of creepy, but it’s the honest to God’s truth,” Randy Rogers Band front man Randy Rogers says of discovering he and his bandmate Jon Richardson both had plans to quietly elope in Hawaii on the same March day.
“We both got off the bus at five in the morning to get on a plane to go to Hawaii and I was like, ‘What are you doing awake?’ He said, ‘I’m getting married.’ I was like, ‘Me too!’”
On Randy Rogers Band’s sixth studio release that dropped Tuesday, it’s clear this band is tight, in more ways than just musically. Rogers says the band’s sharing of individual heartaches over the past couple of years inspired several tracks on Trouble.
“I think it’s our most emotionally accurate album we have ever made. During the making of this record, there were some hardships and some personal pain. I personally went through a divorce,” Rogers tells CultureMap. “Some of the other guys in the band went through very emotionally and difficult times and a lot of that comes out in this record.”
“Texas country to me is almost a bragging right... People take pride and ownership of the music and I think that’s why we’ve gotten this far and why we have a job.”
But rest assured — as the title suggests — the record also contains songs representative of the Texas band’s collective love of a good time. “Somehow, in some way, every night, something extraordinary happens. And I think that’s maybe because we all like to put ourselves in that situation.”
It's a love that sometimes comes at their own peril. Rogers says the worst trouble the band’s ever been in resulted in one of the band members (he didn't say who) being picked up by the “po-po.” The incident is mentioned in the third verse of “Trouble Knows My Name,” a song that chronicles three incidents the band members found themselves in on the road. The band got a little help on the song from Texas legend (who's no stranger to a little bit of trouble himself) Willie Nelson.
“Growing up in Texas, Willie Nelson was one of my biggest heroes of all time and it was something I never dreamed would be possible,” Rogers says of recording with the icon. “It is one of the biggest things to ever happen in my career.”
Rogers, who lives in Austin, says he's looking forward to sharing the band's new music with the hometown crowd at Lone Star Jam this weekend (May 4 and 5) on the University of Texas campus. “Getting to rock your hometown and sleep in your own bed is very nice.”
The band headlines day two of the annual Texas country music festival. The lineup features a who’s who of Texas country music including Josh Abbott Band, Jack Ingram, Kevin Fowler and Stoney LaRue. Playing Lone Star Jam gives Rogers and his fellow Texas artists a chance to visit — something they don't get to do very often. "There’s definitely a camaraderie between all of us and getting to see everyone is great."
I asked Rogers why he thinks Texas country music is so successful. “I think it’s honest music. Real. Blue collar country music. I think it’s more of what country music used to be,” he explains. “Texas country to me is almost a bragging right. It’s similar to everything else in our wonderful state. People take pride and ownership of the music and I think that’s why we’ve gotten this far and why we have a job.”
With a couple of new marriages, some new music and a summer filled with concert dates (including touring with Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley), Randy Rogers Band has a lot to look forward to. And if "Trouble Knows My Name" is any indication, the guys will have their fair share of fun on tour.
“Being out here as much as we are and playing in front of all these rowdy crowds, I think [trouble] is bound to happen,” Rogers says. And these good ol’ boys wouldn't have it any other way.