Dirty Dozen: Roger Roger

roger-roger-2016Roger Roger is a sibling folk/roots duo from Winnipeg, Canada. Twins Lucas and Madeleine Roger are both singer-songwriters who have joined forces, each playing guitar and shamelessly harmonizing all over each others’ songs. The offspring of producer/engineer/musician Lloyd Peterson, the twins have a knack for songwriting that must have something to do with growing up in a recording studio.

Can you tell us about yourself? Where you’re from and what you’ve been up to over the past few years?

Gladly! We are Lucas and Madeleine Roger, twins from the flattest place on earth: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Seriously, our city’s token hill is called “Garbage Hill”, which only exists because some smart people laid sod over a heap of trash. It’s one of the places where people go tobogganing in the winter.

Thankfully, our winters are so long, 6 months on average, that we have a lot of time to sit in our living room and write songs. A couple of years ago, the two of us decided to learn a bunch of each others’ tunes, subsequently booked a couple of shows, and then accidentally recorded a full-length album with producer/engineer Lloyd Peterson, who also happens to be our Dad.

Since we released the album in Canada, we’ve somehow found ourselves as nearly full-time touring performers there. We have to head back to Winnipeg from time to time so that Lucas can do his other work as a Luthier, also known as a guitar-builder. He built two of the guitars that we play.

How would you describe your music?

We call ourselves a “Twin Folk/Roots Duo”, and we’re both first and foremost singer-songwriters who have teamed up. We both play guitar, we both sing lead vocals and harmonies, depending on the song, and we both like to make fun of each other on stage. Lucas come from a rock music background, whereas I (Madeleine) come from a theatre and vocal group background, which definitely translates in the songs that we write. We’ve been compared to artists like The Band, Joni Mitchell, Gillian Welch, and Canadian singer-songwriters Kathleen Edwards and Ron Sexsmith. You are what you eat, I suppose.

It’s safe to say that we’re both obsessed with stories and translating stories through song, voice, and guitar.

Can you tell us a little bit about your influences?

Well, everyone that I just mentioned, and then others come to mind: Sarah Harmer, Joel Plaskett, Tom Petty, David Francey, The Wailin’ Jennys, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Anaïs Mitchell. The list could go on and on and on, music is the best.

What are you currently promoting?

We are currently promoting our debut album Fairweather! It’s a nine-track album that alternates between songs written by each of us. We’re overjoyed with how it turned out. We brought in a full band for half of the songs on the album, and tried to produce each track in such a way that paid service to the song above all else. Everyone that brought their talents to the production absolutely floored us with their intuitive and creative contributions. We had a ton of fun making it, and we hope that people have fun listening to it.

Have you got a particular song you’ve done that you’re particularly proud of, one that might define you?

We get asked this from time to time and we always laugh, asking ourselves “Which of your nine children is your favourite?”. It’s a tough question to answer, so I may step sideways slightly with this response: The reason that we started the album with the song “13 Crows” is that we felt it was the foundation of what Roger Roger is and can be. We think that that track allows for the album and songwriting to follow and unfold in many ways – lyrically through metaphor or in a more upfront manner, musically through a raucous band or a quiet ballad, and intellectually through fact or fiction. We enjoy the possibilities of imagination, imagery, and wonderings that that songs holds, and hope that that feeling carries through the whole album.

What are you currently listening to?

We’ve been on tour a lot, and the floor of our car is littered with albums. Lately, we’ve been listening to a lot of Gillian Welch & David Rawlings’ “Harrow And The Harvest”, Alabama Shakes’ “Sound & Colour”, and Rufus Wainwright’s “Release The Stars”. The song “Slideshow” on the Wainwright album has us thrashing our heads and singing at the top of our lungs and narrowly avoiding driving into ditches every time we listen to it.

And your favourite album of all time, the one you couldn’t do without?

Woah. That’s a REALLY tough question. I’ve been forever changed by “Young Man In America” by Anaïs Mitchell, and Lucas would probably say something by Tom Petty or The Hold Steady. We shared a bedroom until we were in our teens, and the nightly fight would be over who got to choose the CD that we’d listen to before bed. We could always both agree on Tom Petty, so I’d have to say that collectively our favourite album could be “Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Live Anthology”. It’s 4 discs long, and covers a lot of ground.

What are your hopes for your future career?

To be busy! We want to scamper around the globe doing what we do at home in Canada. We hope that we can keep writing, recording, and releasing albums. We basically hope to keep doing what we’re doing, and hope that it continues to grow.

We wouldn’t mind playing on the International Space Station. Or opening for Tom Petty. Are you listening, Tom?

If money were no object what would be your dream project?

Oh boy. Travel to every country and write a song in each one and record that song in one of the country’s legendary studios with local musicians. Any excuse to travel and write, really. I think that Lucas would likely say something about owning and recording with an exceptionally rare guitars from some illustrious years. He’d probably somehow tie in hod-rods from the 1960s, too.

What’s the best thing about being a musician?

The people. Hands down, the people. I’m not sure if it’s the same in other genres, but the genre and scene that we find ourselves in is ridiculously supportive and inspiring. From the fellow artists to the not-for-profit organizations, to the beautiful audiences, to the stories that we share and hear. It’s magic, I don’t know how we get continually so lucky.

And the worst?

The inevitability that the clean socks will run out.

Finally, have you anything you’d like to say to the readers of Americana UK?

We love you already! Drop us a line, we love stories and talking to people! If you’re interested in keeping in touch, may we suggest signing up for our email list? It’s on www.rogerrogermusic.com. We’re convinced that Facebook is going to disappear one day, and then how will we get in contact with anyone?!


About Rudie Hayes 150 Articles
Rudie is the weekly host of the syndicated radio show - The Horseshoe Lounge Music Session - playing the best American Roots and hosting terrific live guests.
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