Q&A: Randy Rogers Talks 20 Years Of Randy Rogers Band And New Album, ‘Homecoming’
The just-released project marks the band’s ninth studio album.
Randy Rogers Band; Photo by Peter Zavadil
Randy Rogers Band is returning to its roots in honor of its 20th anniversary. The band’s new full-length album, Homecoming, draws from the signature sounds of RRB’s early project, RollerCoaster, which first earned them a place in the industry.
The band was founded in San Marcos, TX and includes frontman Randy Rogers along with Geoffrey Hill, Jon Richardson, Brady Black, Les Lawless, and Todd Stewart. For two decades, Randy Rogers Band has dug its heels into the Texas Country tradition to bring music to fans all over the world through with eight studio albums. With this new project, RRB’s classic Texas sound is intertwined with new elements among each of the 11 tracks.
Rogers served as a co-writer on 10 of the songs alongside writers like Jack Ingram, Parker McCollum, Randy Montana, and Jon Randall.
“There was a lot of thought going into it and I would say that, you know, the best songs have always prevailed. This time around, I felt like we did our due diligence and we made sure that each song on this record was something that we could possibly play live or something that we all believed in and was the best that we had come up with when we went in,” Rogers said before explaining how this record differentiates from the group’s past projects. “We weren’t in a rush, we didn’t have a deadline, there was no timeframe, so there was some liberties there creatively.”
Homecoming opens with “I Won’t Give Up,” which serves as a letter from Rogers to his wife assuring her of his commitment to their love. The band has already unveiled a few nods to their overall creation with their previous releases, “Know That By Now,” “Heart For Just One Team,” “Nothing But Love Songs,” and “Picture Frames.”
The first single off the project titled, “Picture Frames,” went No. 1 at Texas Country radio because of its ability to capture the hearts of fans relating to its sentimental storyline as the band reminisces on how “time flies outside these picture frames.”
As a tribute to the beginning of their career, it only felt right welcome Radney Foster onto the project as a producer. He first worked with the Texas band on the 2004 fan-favorite project, RollerCoaster, and has continued to remain friends with Rogers. For years, they have had the desire to collaborate again and finally, the timing was right.
“He’s a dear friend and not just in the professional world,” Rogers told Country Now. “He has kind of held my hand through, you know, the ups and downs of life, both professionally and personally. It felt great to get back with him.”
The members of Randy Rogers Band can proudly say they have had a successful year and this album will add to their feats. They opened for George Strait and Willie Nelson for two shows in Austin in May. They are currently on the road touring with several shows in their home state of Texas, but the band will also make stops in cities like San Diego, CA, and Lincoln, NE.
Country Now recently caught up with Rogers to discuss the makings of the new project, collaborating with Foster, what it takes to uphold a band for 20 years, and more.
Check out our Q&A with the frontman below.
You go to work with producer Radney Foster for the first time in years. How did it feel to be able to create together again on this album?
He was our original producer and produced our record called RollerCoaster with us that I would say put us on the map. We had songs off that record like, “Tonight’s Not The Night” that charted on Billboard while we were independent artists and we had some great success with Radney. Our most popular and stream songs are produced by Radney. So during Covid lockdown, Radney and I started chatting about making another record together and we started writing songs on Zoom just like this. As soon as things were safe to work again, we went to the studio where we cut Randy Rogers Band, in Dockside Studio in Maurice, Louisiana. We thought we were making an EP. We got to listen into it, we had so much fun, Radney enjoyed it, and we said, ‘Hey, let’s hunker down and release a song off of this,’ which was “Picture Frames.” Then, write, write, write, write, write, as much as we can write, then in six to eight months, go back into the studio where we started, which was the Cedar Creek Studios in Austin, and cut some more songs to try to make a record.
How did you land on Homecoming as the title of this collection?
So in every sense of the word, it was a homecoming, both in the studios, the original ones we made those records in, and then of course, working with our mentor, Radney. I’ve been telling people it was like riding a bike. I mean, it was very nostalgic. A lot of old stories were told, a lot of jokes about us working together when we were very young men, and it was a homecoming. So I just felt like we had to the name the record Homecoming. I’m just so proud of it, you know, same five guys, we’ve been together 20 years. It’s the exact same band that was recording with Radney. So, yeah, it just had that feel to it.
The project kicks off with “I Won’t Give Up.” So what was the inspiration behind this song and how does it apply to the different aspects of your life?
COVID and the lockdown and everything, I was writing about during that time. It seemed like the world was falling apart right around us, that’s how I felt. For musicians, for non-musicians, it just felt like, what the hell is going on? And I feel like it’s just the, “I’m gonna prove it to you that I’m here to stay,” sentiment of that song speaks volumes about your dedication to your marriage, your dedication to your job, your craft. I feel like I can apply that even to my relationship within the band mates. The fact that we’ve been here, this is our ninth studio record, and been on the road for 20 plus years, you know, I’m still as committed as I was when I was 25 to not give up on this music industry, not give up on a dream.
You’re signature sound and a bit of your early roots as a band are embedded into Homecoming. Why was it important for you to bring things full circle on this project?
Well, you know, for years, our fans have said RollerCoaster was like their favorite record from the band. A lot of those songs we still play live, and nowadays, the only way we can make money is if we tour and so we wanted songs that sound like us so that we could play them live and we can change our set list. So I feel confident that like four or five of the songs on this record are gonna remain in our set list for some years to come. When you have nine albums, most of them produced by different producers, you can only play one or two of those songs off the record in the set because if you play a 90-minute set, you’ve only got 25 songs you can play, right? And some of those slots are filled by songs that people will throw stuff at us if we don’t play. So, you know, there’s not a whole lot of room. The goal was to make songs on this record that we were so proud of that we would play live and that fans would be so proud of that they would sing along and make those songs a part of their lives. That was 100 percent the goal.
“Picture Frames” is already on track to be one of those because it was the first single off the project and it went No. 1 at Texas Country Radio. How did it feel to see it progress and do so well?
It felt great because I wrote it during that time when I was taking a big deep breath and looking around and watching my children grow up so fast, and then sitting on the couch not being able to leave because of the lockdown and thinking about all the great times my wife and I had spent throughout the country, I named drop a lot of the cities in there, and all those memories and those times that we’ve had, and when you tour 200 days a year, how fast time goes. So, yeah, having other people dance to that song, cry to that song, relate to that song, that’s what my job is supposed to be. It’s very nice, obviously, that radio plays it and regionally, radio did play it. That is always such a blessing and we’re always so thankful for that.
What goes through your head when you think about how far you’ve come as a band in these 20 years?
Well, I think about those moments that people always ask me about. Those TV performances that we had early on, on national TV, opening for Willie Nelson, opening for George Strait, playing with our heroes, recording with Willie Nelson, recording with Jerry Jeff Walker, recording with Robert Earl Keen, just all those moments that we shared together as a band. Not to mention the birth of all of our children. When we all got together, none of us had kids or were even married and so all those personal moments too, they’ve not always been beautiful, but, you know, we’ve lived this crazy life on the road and managed to survive, managed to keep each other in check and not let anybody stray too far off the path. In every sense of a word, it’s a brotherhood and a family and a marriage. I think in the industry, we are definitely an anomaly and I’m proud of that. We’ve got crew guys that have been with us 14, 15 years. I mean, we treat everybody with respect and even within the band, we have our differences and that’s okay to have differences in our relationship. It is what it is and you just respect each other and you move on.
For bands that are just sort of coming up and have big dreams of their own, do you have any advice for them?
For me, it is songwriting. People say it’s that one song and there’s a reason they say that, but you don’t find that one song without messing up a hundred times. So, believe in yourself and don’t get discouraged, but at the same time push and push and push for those songs. In my case, I’m a band, right? So, it’s a family, and that worked out for me. That doesn’t work out for everybody, but surrounding myself with people that are more talented than me, in many ways smarter than me, you know, that worked for me. So surround yourself with a great, positive team, and a talented one, and swing for the fences to chase your dreams.
Fans can listen to Homecoming HERE.
Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.