Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bobby Lee Rodgers perseveres

Get Out!

So what if you’re a top-rung guitarist and songwriter who regularly works with the best players on the Southern jam scene? That doesn’t mean you’re getting rich.

And in this economy, the touring life can be worse than usual.

But Bobby Lee Rodgers can’t bring himself to quit, no matter how trifling the road can get. In fact, he’s writing songs these days that he hopes will help people persevere through the recent financial downturn. And he’s got a new pack of musical friends to help him deliver those tunes.

Bobby Lee Rodgers

Courtesy photo/Brad Hodge

Get Out!

Who: Bobby Lee Rodgers/Jeff Sipe Project

Where: Kirk Avenue Music Hall, 22 Kirk Ave. S.W., downtown Roanoke

When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday

How much: $16

Contact: 745-6643, dlpconcerts.com, myspace.com/BobbyLeeRodgers,

“We’re not trying to get hit records,” he said. “That’s a whole different type of business, man. That’s a whole different thing. It’s marketing. It’s a product. It’s like you’re a toothpaste or something.”

The Bobby Lee Rodgers/Jeff Sipe Quartet — most definitely not toothpaste music — is scheduled to hit Roanoke’s Kirk Avenue Music Hall on Sunday night.

Rodgers and Sipe are both veterans of various bands with jam mentor Col. Bruce Hampton . Sipe, a sickeningly talented and musical drummer, first came to prominence as a member of Hampton’s Aquarium Rescue Unit from Atlanta. Rodgers was a member of a later band with Hampton, The Code Talkers. All three, of course, have participated in various Aquarium Rescue Unit reunion shows over the years, with the multitalented Rodgers on both banjo and guitar.

Last time the pair were in the region, they hit Floyd’s Sun Music Hall as Herring, Rodgers, Sipe and Fountain — the Herring in the equation was former ARU and current Widespread Panic guitarist Jimmy Herring.

Despite all that high-level musicianship and onstage interplay, Rodgers said that the act the two are bringing to Kirk Avenue might be his favorite to date. It features electric and upright bassist Shannon Hoover and guitarist/singer Charles Hedgepath, both from the Greenville, S.C., area. Rodgers said Hoover might be the best bassist he’s ever worked with, and Hedgepath is an amazing songwriter and musician.

Go to this story at roanoke.com/entertainment to hear a podcast with Rodgers, who talks about the incestuousness of much pop music, what he learned about the music business from Hampton and how life’s ups and downs have informed his forthcoming solo album.