Blast of Blues

Roy Rogers & the Delta Rhythm Kings will headline a New Year’s Eve concert in Grass Valley
By: Carol Guild, Features Editor

A blast of the blues. Upbeat, on-your-feet, kick-up-your-heels blues.
And that’s just a little something to warm you up.

Roy Rogers & the Delta Rhythm Kings have been known to bring down the house. What’s better than that for a New Year’s Eve celebration?
A slide guitarist with credits higher than a DJ’s stacks of wax, Rogers is a Grammy-nominated producer and recording artist.

He has worked with John Lee Hooker, Bonnie Raitt, Carlos Santa, Sammy Hagar and Steve Miller, among countless others. His collaboration with The Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek debuted at #6 on the Billboard charts and reached #1 on the American Roots Rock Chart.

Rogers has accumulated eight Grammy nominations with records by John Lee Hooker and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. And he has received numerous accolades for his songwriting, such as a Grammy nomination for Bonnie Raitt’s version of “Gnawin’ On It.”

“I recorded with Bonnie Raitt, and with John Lee Hooker,” he said. “She and John won Grammies for the tracks I wrote.” He still keeps in touch with Raitt. “I sit in with her often,” he said. “It’s dueling slide guitars.”

Ramblin’ Jack Elliott is another of several artists with whom Rogers is still close. “I produced a couple of records for Jack,” Rogers said. “I’m in touch with Jack all the time. He’s still sharp, going strong, still telling his stories about Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan.”

Rogers is credited on film soundtracks, too. “I played on ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” he said. “And ‘The Hot Spot,’ with Miles Davis and John Lee Hooker; It’s an interesting soundtrack of jazz and blues.”

Rogers’ newest release is “Into the Wild Blue.” “It’s a departure of sorts,” he said. “A lot of influences came into play on this one. This is more of an R and B feel.” There are more instrumental songs on “Into the Wild Blue.” The album features harpist Carlos Reyes and pianist Jim Pugh.  MORE...

A&E Source: Roy Rogers back as special Wednesday Night Live guest

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By Richard Freedman, POSTED: 11/10/16, 9:58 AM PST

Now into his 60s, Roy Rogers tries to minimize that energy-draining driving from gig to gig. Flying around the world? That’s a different story. Take this past week. The acclaimed slide guitarist was in Denmark and Norway for six gigs, returning to home base in the Sierra foothills on Monday. Rogers returns to his roots next week, making a guest appearance Nov. 23 at the Empress Theatre’s Wednesday Night Live. Also featured is Mighty Mike Schermer, making it special. “Two players of very different guitar styles jamming and trying to take the music to the highest level we can go,” Rogers said. Though he returns for one show a year with his band at the Empress, the Grammy winner said returning to his roots is always a treat.

“I often recall my ‘growing up’ years and ‘the old days’ of my paper routes and Scotty’s Donuts as a kid as well as great gigs at the Rangers Hall and Dan Foley Park when it first opened,” Rogers said. Vallejo, he continued, “has changed dramatically in a number of ways. The physical vibrancy of the downtown and businesses I remember are long gone.” There’s also the “obvious loss of Mare Island Shipyard — we always heard the horn signaling the end-of-work day,” said Rogers.

He recalled two classic theaters — the El Rey, which is now a church, and The Crest, “much better now as the restored Empress.”Diving head-long into nostalgia, Rogers said he really misses the Carnegie Library, with its demolition “a travesty at the time. It should have absolutely been preserved by any means. It should still be there.”

In many ways, Rogers added, “Vallejo was really a microcosm of small-town America to me as I look back with all its imperfections. It was just a very, very different time from now.”Beyond his occasional return to his native town, Rogers plays all over the United States and points far beyond including the Far East. “I would love to go back to perform in China, then to Africa,” Rogers said. “Then, some day, to India.” Whether the audience understood English or not is irrelevant, Rogers hinted. “Music is the great communicator between different cultures,” he said.

Though still passionate about playing with his Delta Rhythm Kings, Rogers keeps life interesting with side projects, including his latest presentation – “Stringshot” — that includes virtuoso violinist Carlos Reyes and Brazilian guitarist Badi Assad.
“Stay tuned,” teased Rogers.

Wednesday Night live with Mighty Mike Schermer and Roy Rogers is Nov. 23, 8 p.m., Empress Theatre, 330 Virginia St., Vallejo. $15 online, $20 door. For more, visit

Simpatico: Roy Rogers, Carlos Reyes shine onstage

  Roy Rogers, left, Kevin Hayes and Carlos Reyes welcome Tahoe crowd with a rousing 45-minute set.   Tahoe Onstage photos by Larry Sabo

Roy Rogers, left, Kevin Hayes and Carlos Reyes welcome Tahoe crowd with a rousing 45-minute set. Tahoe Onstage photos by Larry Sabo

Concertgoers on Thursday at Lake Tahoe were familiar with every song headliner the Steve Miller Band played. When Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings opened the concert, most fans probably didn’t know any of the songs, and, in fact, many hadn’t even heard of the band.

“It’s a challenge,” Rogers said. “Everybody’s here to see Steve.”

While a veteran gunslinger like Roy Rogers is not afraid to take risks, he’s savvy enough to bring along another sharpshooter to the contest.

Carlos Reyes stood beside Rogers onstage at sunset at the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys. Rogers held a dual-neck Gibson guitar and wore a metal slide on his pinky. Reyes brought his violin and harp. He spun his bow in a circular motion as he waited to play.

The Delta Rhythm Kings – drummer Kevin Hayes and bassist Steve Evans – were joined by Jim Pugh, the longtime keyboardist for the Robert Cray Band.

Seven songs and 45 minutes later, it was clear to all 5,600 in the arena that the openers had killed it.

“Two’s better than one,” Rogers said backstage after the set. “With two guys, it’s where you can take it. It’s about where the music can go. It opens all the possibilities and it invites everybody in. Interaction with someone like Carlos makes it easy.”

Hardly an unknown to blues music fans, Rogers’ solo recording career began in 1978. He produced a Grammy winning album by John Lee Hooker. And Rogers also is famous for his collaborations, most notably with Norton Buffalo and Ray Manzarek. Lately, he’s shared the stage with Reyes, a native of Paraguay who is trained in classical music. Reyes’ Latin roots and great stage presence blend wonderfully with Rogers’ Delta sound and speedy finesse.

“It’s not about how good you are, it’s about how you relate to the other musicians on stage,” Rogers said. “Like John Lee Hooker said, It’s all about feeling. You have to be open, not closed, otherwise you are not playing with them, you are playing at them.”

Early in his almost 2-hour set, Miller brought Reyes to play with on his hit pop song “Abracadabra” and “Wild Mountain Honey,” which was dedicated to Buffalo, a 33-year member of the Steve Miller Band.

The show, however, hit a lull during an uninspired blues song, “Going to Mexico.” Miller’s ’53 Studebaker was stalled in Tijuana before Reyes and Rogers reappeared on stage to join Miller and fired up “Mercury Blues,” the highlight of the evening.

Miller marveled at Rogers’ syncopated New Orleans style.

“With Roy, it’s never a straight line; it’s this side and that side,” he said. “After the show I want to go eat some gumbo.”

Miller seemed energized by the presence of Reyes and Rogers and the final 45 minutes of the show was a raucously fun classic rock extravaganza. During the last song, “Jet Airliner,” Miller asked if his friends were still there.

Rogers and Reyes came back onstage without instruments, singing in harmony with Miller and dancing in synchronization (or close to it) as if they were in the Temptations.

It’s all about feeling, indeed.

Vallejo native Roy Rogers with Carlos Reyes in Fairfield

Roy Rogers and Carlos Reyes unite at the Downtown Theatre in Fairfield on Aug. 27 
By Richard Freedman, Vallejo Times-Herald

POSTED: 08/10/16, 11:40 AM PDT | UPDATED: 13 HRS AGO

The drive from Mammoth Lakes to Nevada City is scenic, to be sure. But it’s also long. And when you’re a 66-year-old musician — not that being a musician has much to do with it — it’s a grudge match.

Oh, the four-day Mammoth Lakes Festival of Beers and Bluesapalooza last weekend was a blast, to be sure, said Roy Rogers. And who can argue with performing for around 3,000 fans?

“Five hours is five hours,” Rogers said of the journey home. “The older we get, these long drives get to me.”

It could be worse. Take the tour with the late, great John Lee Hooker. Nonstop to Detroit from the Bay Area, 1982. Sure, Hooker got to fly. But the band got the bus.

“I had never been on the road,” Rogers said. “And we went straight through. No stopping, no hotels. It was a rough initiation.”

Just part of the learning while earning process as Rogers established himself as a top-notch blues artist and Grammy-winning producer.

A Vallejo native, Rogers returns almost to his roots Aug. 27 with his Delta Rhythm Kings plus guest Carlos Reyes at the Downtown Theatre in Fairfield.

Rogers recalled played numerous gigs at Travis Air Force Base in his youth and one gig working with Tower of Power at a Fairfield bowling alley.

“I believe this is my first Fairfield gig since then,” he said.

It’s been some time since Rogers left his native Vallejo for Marin County. Now, he is living the good life with his wife, Gaynell, in the Sierra Foothills of Nevada City.

If a gig isn’t in the books — Rogers hits Harvey’s Lake Tahoe on Aug. 18 as the opener for rocker Steve Miller — there’s usually a recording project, the bearded slide guitarist said. He expects a CD combining Brazilian, Latin and blues out in 2017.

“Very different stuff. That’s all I can say. It’s in the hopper,” Rogers said.

Needless to say, but he said it anyway — Reyes is also involved in the project. It’s been a one-two combination music and friend relationship that Rogers enjoys.

“The energy and conversation people get to witness” with the two “is very special,” Rogers said. “We’re having fun and people see we’re having fun.”

Rogers said his on-stage relationship with Reyes is like the one he had with the late harmonica player, Norton Buffalo, “when you would have this unspoken thing. The friendship and relationship to be able to do that and people love seeing that because they do get it. Everyone feels together.”

Rogers expects to see many friends and fans from the area at the Fairfield gig. At the Tahoe performance opening for Miller, it’s a chance to snag new fans, he said.

“People obviously will come to hear Steve, but it’s a great opportunity,” Rogers said. “Opening for him makes it real easy. You just give it your best shot and get off stage.”

Though those cross-country tours are a likely thing of the past — in Rogers’ rear-view mirror, one might say — it’s not as if he won’t fly somewhere for a weekend when the demand arrives.

“I’m not independently wealthy,” Rogers said. “Though I am luckier than most.”

Rogers is in good health — knock on wood — since an on-stage heart attack in 2010.

“We don’t (literally) count our blessings, but we savor them,” Rogers said. “We’re here on the planet and still having a good time and hopefully have something to say that people want to listen to.”

Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings plus Carlos Reyes at the Downtown Theatre, 1035 Texas St., Fairfield, Sat., Aug. 27, 8 p.m. Tickets $30-$35. For information, visit

Let It Slide Roy Rogers kicks off popular Healdsburg event BY EDDIE JORGENSEN

Slide-guitar blues player Roy Rogers and his Delta Rhythm Kings will grace the well-worn stage in Healdsburg's Plaza Park to kick off the popular Tuesdays in the Plaza summer concert series on May 31.

Also included in this year's fantastic series are Cajun crooners Tom Rigney & Flambeau, Brazilian band Grupo Falso Baiano, local rockers the Sorentinos and Hall of Fame bluesman Charlie Musselwhite, to name a few.

While his latest record is an 11-track barnburner appropriately titled Into the Wild Blue, Rogers doesn't need to rely solely on current material to draw a sizable crowd, having been a fixture in West Coast rock and roll since the '70s. For the uninitiated, the blues guitarist and Grammy-winning producer learned much of his slide technique after hearing records by Robert Johnson. He toured with John Lee Hooker for years, featured the late pianist Allen Toussaint on his 1987 Sidewinder release, and even worked alongside Linda Ronstadt and Jackson Browne.

"I use open tuning in my music, and we do lots of improvisation," Rogers said during a 2012 interview. "These open tunings take various forms and can move music in a lot of places."

Check him out during this rare Sonoma County soiree, and expect to find Rogers doing some free-form solos. May 31, Healdsburg Plaza, 217 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg. 6pm. Free. All ages. 707.433.6935.

Roy Rogers will slide into Tahoe before Steve Miller

Roy Rogers and his Martin guitar are coming to Lake Tahoe along with the Delta Rhythm Kings.

Norton Buffalo has been gone since 2009, but his music and friendships continue to influence artists and even their shows.

Buffalo’s best known collaborations were with the Steve Miller Band for 33 years and in a duo with Roy Rogers that recorded and performed for nearly 20 years. Today, it was announced that Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings will open the Aug. 18 concert headlined by the Steve Miller Band at the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys.

“I met Steve through Norton Buffalo,” Rogers told Tahoe Onstage. “Over the years, I’ve sat in with him numerous times so it will be fun to open for him. Another Planet (Entertainment) knew of my friendship with Steve and somebody came to one of my shows at Yoshi’s in Oakland recently and had the idea of me opening up the show for Steve.”

Rogers, 65, is a guitar virtuoso who can simultaneously play rhythm and slide on either his acoustic 1970 Martin or custom electric double-necked Gibson. He’s produced records for John Lee Hooker and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, and also made three albums with Ray Manzarek, the late keyboardist for The Doors. His solo recording career began in 1978. Early in Rogers’ career, a music critic wrote, “This is the Roy Rogers with chops, not chaps,” distinguishing the guitarist from Roy Rogers, “the Singing Cowboy.”

“Chops Not Chaps” was the title of Rogers’ 1986 album with Blind Pig Records, and it’s also the title of the record company Rogers heads today. The latest album, “Into the Wild Blue,” was released last year, and includes guest appearances from violin and string-harp player Carlos Reyes and keyboardist Jim Pugh, an esteemed studio player also known for his many years with Robert Cray.

Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings are a trio that includes drummer Kevin Hayes and bassist Steve Ehrmann. The band played last Sunday afternoon at the Powerhouse Pub in Folsom.

“It’s so much fun, and as you can see, people just dance their asses off and it’s just, let it rip,” Rogers said after the show. “The little club’s atmosphere is conducive to people just letting it out and the same is true for the musicians. I hadn’t done ‘The Sky is Cryin’ ‘ since I don’t know when.”

Four days later, it was announced that Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings, who had just played for 150 people, would play for as many as 7,500 this summer at Lake Tahoe. Rogers said that Reyes and Pugh will join his band for the show. The five members also played together at this year’s New Orleans Jazz Fest and will do so again Sunday, May 22, at the Doheny Blues Festival at Dana Point, California.

“It’s fun when all these guys get together,” Rogers said. “Part of the reason is so I can do stuff from the new record because they’re on it. The expanded sound allows me to do those tunes.”

Although a number of fans will attend the Tahoe show to see Rogers, the bluesman, the majority will be there for Miller, the enduring classic rocker.

“(Miller’s) a great guy and such an important figure in the realm of the music business and doing your own thing against record companies back in the day when very few people were doing that,” Rogers said. “He was one of the first guys, if not the first, to take control of his own catalogue.

“When you write hits records like that and they’ve lived in the anthem of American music, that puts you in a realm that few people can go,” Rogers said. “It’s part of the lexicon and Steve is a part of that. He’s written such great songs. He’s up there with the Eagles and the Doobie Brothers. It’s a different realm. I don’t live in that realm.”

Related stories:

  • Relentless Roy Rogers speeds ahead. LINK
  • Roy Rogers and Carlos Reyes team up in Tahoe. VIDEO
  • “Into the Wild Blue” album review. LINK
  • Roy Rogers’s collaboration with Ray Manzarek ends with beautiful album. LINK
  • The Steve Miller Band
    Opener: Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings
    When: Thursday, Aug. 18
    Where: Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena
    Tickets: $39.50 to $139.50
    Purchase: LINK

Blues, wind and water at Jazz Fest

By Annelore Harrell

Years from now, when the New Orleans Jazz Festival is mentioned, someone is bound to say, “Were you in the Blues Tent on the Saturday afternoon when it flooded?”

We were.
What a mess.
The weather report was for rain later in the day and we ignored the fact that the skies were blotchy gray and the wind blowing sharp.

Our taxi dropped us off across the street from the entrance to the race track where the festival was set up and we joined thousands of jazz enthusiasts going through the usual drill of opening our backpacks and filing past security.

Been a long time since I had seen so many people wearing rubber boots. There was a tentative aroma similar to dirty diapers, a remembrance this was, after all, a place where horses reigned. Most of us carried folding chairs because the main event would be out in the open with seating only for VIPs. Stevie Wonder was the night’s big attraction due to take the Acura stage at 5 p.m.

For most of the afternoon, we sat in the Blues Tent, enjoying good old down and dirty blues while the musicians played their hearts out.

Aaron Neville’s baby brother Cyril and his Royal Southern Brotherhood exploded the stage. The speakers were three stories tall.

Every one of the band members was exceptional. Together, they were amazing.

We had third-row seats, which didn’t mean a whole lot after hundreds of fans came to stand in front of the stage and totally blocked our view.

Luckily, there were two super huge screens projecting the band’s image.

When Cyril’s band finished, the stage crew changed out the equipment. Roy Rogers and The Delta Rhythm Kings were on next.

By this time it was 3:30 and the skies were even grayer. No one paid a bit of attention.

When it started to drizzle, more and more people came out of the rain into the tent.

There was a crack or two of thunder, the wind really began to blow and the rain came down. Canvas on the tent’s roof made funny noises, but you really couldn’t hear much over the music.

Now, people who had been sitting outside in their folding chairs came in to get out of the rain, so did people who had been just casually walking around outside. More

Annelore Harrell lives in Bluffton and can be reached at

New Orleans Jazz Fest readies another memorable weekend

With so many amazing moments from the first weekend of the 47th New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (aka Jazz Fest) including members of Red Hot Chili Peppers joining Pearl Jam’s headlining set and iconic Crescent City musicians, The Meters, joining the Chili Peppers’ headlining set it almost makes you wonder if the second weekend, today through Sunday, will be able to meet up to those standards and surpass them.

Forget Fat Tuesday. Fat chance that won’t happen.

New Orleans oozes with so much music that late night shows on each night of Jazz Fest plus a secondary fest, NOLA Crawfish Festival, which ran April 25-27 and featured local musicians, isn’t enough to feed a hungry live music fan.

Jazz Fest’s lineup for this weekend includes headliners Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Neil Young & Promise of the Real along with My Morning Jacket, Beck, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Los Lobos perform “La Pistola Y El Corazon,” Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Arlo Guthrie for Alice's Restaurant 50th Anniversary, Mavis Staples, The Isley Brothers featuring Ronald and Ernie lsley, Snoop Dogg, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Chris Botti, Punch Brothers Tribute to B.B.King hosted by the B.B.King Blues Band with special guests, Arturo Sandoval, Hurray for the Riff Raff, The Lone Bellow and Elvin Bishop.

Of course the stages will also be filled with the sounds by nationally-known area artists including Dr. John & The Nite Trippers, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Aaron Neville, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk with special guest Art Neville, Tribute to Allen Toussaint hosted by the Allen Toussaint Band with special guests, Bonerama, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, The Revivalists, Ellis Marsalis, The Gospel Soul of Irma Thomas, Zigaboo Modeliste's Funk Revue, Marcia Ball, Rockin' Dopsie & the Zydeco Twisters, The Band Courtbouillon featuring Wayne Toups, Steve Riley, Jon Batiste and Stay Human, Rebirth Brass Band, Big Freedia, Kermit Ruffins' Tribute to Louis Armstrong, The Soul Rebels, Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Cha, Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Roy Rogers & the Delta Rhythm Kings, Cyril Neville's Royal Southern Brotherhood, New Orleans Klezmer Allstars, Wayne Toups, John Mooney & Bluesiana, Cash Box Kings, Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience, Irwin Mayfield & the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Creole String Beans with special guest T.K. Hulin and C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band

For those who can’t make it to Jazz Fest, you can listen online at

For more information on Jazz Fest, go to


Roy Rogers Into The Wild Blue Review - Morgan Hogarth, R2 Magazine, UK.

While never quite achieving 'household name' status, Rogers has been one of the world's leading slide-guitarists since the 70’s, demonstrating his award-winning skills performing and producing with the likes of John Lee Hooker, B B. King and Ray Manzarek. Fans have had a lengthy five-year wait for this, his twelfth solo release, but reassuringly Into The Wild Blue remains faithful to his earlier output, displaying his stunning skills through a genre-defying blend of original songs and instrumentals.

The Cajun dance rhythm of 'Last Go- Round', an unusually upbeat break-up song, gets the album off to a fine start before moving on to the world/bayou blend of 'Don't You Let Them Win' on which his guitar combines to good effect with Kevin Hayes' drums and Jim Pugh's Hammond B3. 'Got To Believe' has Rogers' vocals to the fore, backed by the sultry Omega Rae to produce an impressive, soulful ballad.

The title track has a jazzy mood, with Rogers generously deferring his masterly slide to the benefit of some exquisite harp and piano interplay. By contrast, the diverse instrumentals include the funky jam of 'Dackin" and celebratory yet poignant 'Song For Robert', a gentle tribute to his late brother. Rogers oozes class throughout this album - a lifetime's musical experience beautifully captured.-Morgan Hogarth R2 Magazine, UK