Nathan Rogers: “It’s Complicated”

Cross-posted from Ottawa Tonite

There may come a time when singer-songwriter Nathan Rogers does not have to face The Question. Today is not that day. As Rogers knows and accepts with grace, there are dues still to be paid.

Most contemporary folk singers struggle to find their place within the music’s long traditions. How, where, does one respectfully align (while still leaving a footprint of originality) with Woody, Bob, Neil, Joni, Gordon, and Leonard – let alone with decades and centuries of lineage going back to the Old World.

Nathan Rogers adroitly wrestles with the added burden of family tradition. He is, of course, the son of Canadian folk icon Stan Rogers who died in a tragic 1983 plane fire, leaving a legacy the likes of Barrett’s Privateers and “Canada’s second National Anthem” Northwest Passage. Uncle Garnet Rogers has also built an esteemed career and catalogue.

For Nathan, years of restless youth – including wrestling demons of a different kind in the mixed martial arts ring – gave way to studies in Comparative Religion and eventually the somewhat tentative debut album “True Stories”, issued in 2005 from his adopted home of Winnipeg.

2009’s exponentially more mature, confident and rich experience “The Gauntlet” confirms that Rogers’ decision to ply the family trade was the right one. The path from “son of the father” to “the child is father to the man” begins, hazily but inexorably, to materialize.

The frank interview that follows was taped before a live audience during intermission at a recent Bobcat House Concert in Ottawa. (A lighter “rapid fire” Q&A is above in a separate clip). The live performances are Moving Mountains and The Jewel of Paris, both from “The Gauntlet”.

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