Most blues musicians can proudly recall their age and stage in life when they received their introduction to blues music. It is a coming of age in a sense – before the blues and after the blues. For Vancouver’s James ‘Buddy’ Rogers, life as he knew it was inherently different after discovering the blues.
James ‘Buddy’ Rogers learned to love the blues close to home. His dad, Bud worked for the railroad and often brought home records and a guitar and by the time little Buddy was 10 he was lifting licks. By 11 he’d formed a band and started gigging. Within two years he was a regular at local blues clubs. At 15 his band Texas Storm was being booked by Canada’s top agency for opening concert slots. “My dad went to the liquor control board and got a license that he would take to bars so I could legally play there. I began playing shows sitting in with all the great blues guys around Vancouver back then. The ones that really stand out, who took me under their wing, so to speak were the late Muddy Fraser, Tom and Jack Lavin, Jim Byrnes, Wailin’ Al Walker and Russell Jackson. These guys always invited me out to play with them and open for them.” Rogers recalls.
At the age of 19 Rogers teamed up with former B.B. King bassist Russell Jackson and began a tour that lasted five years. Based in Kansas City, they played an endless string of clubs, concerts and festivals sharing the bill with Canned Heat, Sam Taylor, The Holmes Brothers, Elvin Bishop, Kenny Neal, Katie Webster and countless others. In 2000 Buddy started his own band and played blues clubs across Canada and Europe. When he wasn’t working under his own name he appeared on US tours and recordings with many other blues acts.
Rogers new CD ‘By My Side’ is an 11 song CD which includes ten originals by Rogers and one cover made famous by Freddie King ‘Goin’ Down’. Rogers is backed by long time band mates Mike Wedge on bass and James Badger on drums. Joining the CD on piano, B3 and wurly is Texas native Lewis Stephens who is known for his work with Freddie King, Delbert McClinton and Mike Zito. Lewis recently appeared on Gary Clark Jr’s CD ‘The Story of Sonny Boy Slim’.
James ‘Buddy’ Rogers’ main influences on guitar – Johnny Watson, Jimmie Vaughan and the three Kings – plus years of being a blues road warrior have helped shape him into a well-seasoned blues guitarist. By My Side showcases a guitar and voice forged by a life in the blues. James ‘Buddy’ Rogers; his music is here to stay.