The deeper we dig into the musical fabric that has created the wonderful sounds and support we now enjoy in our Commonwealth, one name has continued to pop-up, and that name is Don Rogers.
I first found Don about 18 months ago, but as life tends to keep us busy, Summer came along and all the coverage and/or the creation of festivals we try and provide, my research got pushed to the back burner.
I was researching the lovely ladies in The Local Honeys when Don’s name popped up as a songwriter and once again, he rekindled the candle to find my way to him.
The Local Honeys – “Junkman”:
As I traveled through the rabbit holes on YouTube, I found The Local Honeys performing two Don Rogers tunes. “Junkman” and then, “I’m A Kentuckian.” Finding those performances made seeing Don perform a priority. A priority that I fulfilled at Kickin’ It On The Creek. I was able to catch Don with his buddies in Green Genes. It was a much anticipated reunion show that has sparked another show. You can catch them at The Burl on December 26th!
The Local Honeys – “I’m A Kentuckian”:
From there, I went back and rediscovered Don’s last album ‘Winetown.’ What an incredibly beautiful album that helps paint the most accurate view of what makes being a Kentuckian so unique and even sometimes tragic.
Life just isn’t always roses and bourbon. You’ll ultimately find a thorn here and there, and the bourbon always finds a way to make you look foolish, usually when it’s least expected.
After the Green Genes performance, I got word that Don had been working on a new album with an all-star supporting cast. So, I suppose you could say that Christmas came in September this year!
That new album is titled,’This Ain’t My Generation’ and it was released a couple weeks ago in November. There will be a a digital streaming release, fairly soon, so stay tuned for that.
If you pick up your shovel and dig a bit more, you’ll find that the members of the Apostlebillies are likely members of several of your favorite bands. Bands or artists like John R. Miller, Allman Butter Band, Grits and Soul, and The Marble Creek Rangers.
If you haven’t heard Grits & Soul before, you’re In for a real treat.
While Don handles the acoustic guitar, some electric guitar and most of the vocals, he is joined by John Looney on the electric guitar, the wonderful Anna Kline provides some angelic harmonies, while Josh Anglin and Brandon May join in on the drums and bass. Tona Barkley also added some backing vocals.
Now I’ve mentioned the Local Honeys a lot in this article. I’ve gone on record that those ladies are making some of the most important music in our Commonwealth. They’re preserving Appalachian music and helping the music of our mountains reach the world. Don Rogers songwriting is as equally important.
In fact, Don’s “First Church of God” was recorded and included on the Local Honeys new album, ‘The Gospel.’
Don Rogers – “First Church Of God”:
While Tyler Childers may use his mastery of the Appalachian vernacular in a sly way to tell his stories, Don Rogers uses honesty and a deep well of life experiences that he is able to shape and mold into tales that are uniquely Kentucky.
Look no further than the opening track, “Noah’s Carbon Footprint”, to see Don’s wit, wisdom and honesty on full display. Here in Kentucky, we have an exact replica of Noah’s Ark. The theme park decided to sue their insurance company because they wouldn’t cover flood damage. That’s a story that only Don can tell!
“We Don’t Grow Tobacco Here No More” is a song that frames up how much things have changed since the fall of tobacco. Our fertile lands are slowly being sold off or are converting to hemp farms to keep the farms afloat. With this track, Don shares insight as a man that has seen the height of burley and tobacco, and he’s also seen it’s downfall and the affects it has had on our great Commonwealth.
One track in particular is relevant today, even though the beginnings happened in 1979. It was recently announced that The Who are planning on returning to the Cincinnati area for their first performance since eleven patrons were trampled to death in a pre-show stampede, forty years ago.
Don was there as the tragedy unfolded. From there he takes you on a journey through several rock and roll shows across his lifetime before finally proclaiming “This Ain’t My Generation.”
I’m going to share one liner note here to help you understand what I mean when I say one of Don’s strengths is honesty.
We are in a terrible opioid epidemic in Kentucky, as are many more states. I simply can not find better words than what Don has provided for “Old Concrete Floor.”
I will say this, as you see above, Don includes a lot of insight in the liner notes of the CD, so if you like what you hear, I’d advise you to pick up a physical copy, and hopefully you’ll do so at a show.
Speaking of a show, you should make the short trek to Irvine this weekend. Don Rogers and The Local Honeys are hosting a dual album release party at the always wonderful Steam Engine on Saturday, the 14th.
As for The Local Honeys, you can check out our review of their latest release ‘The Gospel’ here.