Lee Rogers spills all on Gameblood

Lee Rogers spills all on Gameblood

Lee Rogers spills all on Gameblood a great listen for those of you who lean toward the folk side of things: a well crafted, multi-layered album of folk biased songs carried out by a skilled vocalist and band.

Bluesdoodles rating: 3 Doodle Paws – a great listen for those of you who lean toward the folk side of things: a well crafted, multi-layered album of folk biased songs carried out by a skilled vocalist and band.

Carrickfergus, a delightful town in Northern Ireland is the setting for the intriguing Adrian McKinty novels featuring the intrepid detective Sean Duffy and happens to be the birthplace of Lee Rogers as well. Lee is a talented musician who many thought would be much more widely known and lauded after his debut album, Drawing Clocks, began to make waves back in 2006. Fate however decided otherwise as his forward-looking record label (Zenith Cafe) was a victim of a banking scandal that brought them down.

The turmoil from that meant that Lee decided to take another creative, non-musical direction…he became a highly skilled tattooist and opened his own studio in County Antrim to great success. Fate then intervened again as Zenith Cafe, having recovered from the financial disaster, not of their making, contacted him again to pick up where they left off. This led to a couple of successful singles in 2020 and, in 2021, his first physical release in 10 years. The ten-inch vinyl Dark Notions was a collection of cleverly crafted, moody songs.  

Now he has a new studio set on a release called Gameblood. The title is explained by Lee: “my dad was as hard as the road he walked on but had the softest heart for us and my mother, who he loved unconditionally. He had a fighting spirit, and that’s what I believe Gameblood means.”

The opening song, Everytime, is about his devotion to his wife Nikita and is wrapped in a structure being compared to Springsteen…Lee’s vocals are far clearer and the instrumentation to my ear, has only a few similarities (thankfully)…it is a soft rock that has lighter waving potential. It also has a cracking bass and some tasty guitar going on in the background. Silent Song is a slower, introspective song with nice acoustic backing and soaring, cinematic melodies.

Uneasy Love starts rock for a few bars before allowing Lee’s passion-filled vocals to lead and reintroduce the Edge-y riffs. Rock with a gentle touch. A synth like intro opens The House…it’s a sort of folky ballad with hints of Lee’s homeland in the melodies and percussion. We stay balladic with Life And Lies but with extra bite, especially in the vocals…lyrically clever and very transferable messages. Haunted ups the pace a little as we get another soft track that is well crafted and structured and will be great live…an atmospheric guitar solo opportunity I thought was about to happen, but it wasn’t to be.

Homeward Bound isn’t from Simon and Garfunkel or Butterfly Ball, but folk, rock with delightful bass and percussion backing the excellent lyrics and melody. We do, nearly get a guitar solo in the middle section, as the guitar growls, but it only lasts a few seconds. The next track has hints of blues and gospel mixed with the folk leanings. Won’t Find Me has more sensitive and deep lyrics and the guitar backing is layered nicely over the soft and subtle keyboard work. The next track, Fools Gold, brings a surprise…no-one else could craft funk folk quite like this. It does work and has another clever bass and guitars running behind the vocal melodies.

The final track, Barefoot In The Basement, features fellow Irishman Foy Vance (an established and talented folk/blues performer) and together they bring a Celtic colour to the sweeping folk layered song that packs drama and atmosphere into the melodies and adds neat touches with the lap steel (or clever slide) and vocal harmonies.

This is a well crafted, multi-layered album of folk biased songs carried out by a skilled vocalist and band. It may lean little more toward folk than my usual fare, but there is no disputing the quality on display.

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Lee Rogers spills all on Gameblood

Track listing:
Blues Keep Chasing Me
Everytime
Silent Song
Uneasy Love
The House
Life And Lies
Haunted
Homeward Bound
Won’t Find Me
Fools Gold
Barefoot In The Basement (feat Foy Vance)


Musicians:
Lee Rogers: guitar vocals
Paddy Lavin: drums
Simon Francis: bass

Producer Gareth Dunlop, who is an established and respected musician too, also contributed.

Connect with Lee Rogers across SOCIAL MEDIA
Official Website
Facebook
Instagram
YouTube

(iTunes moved to some decent rock (despite the synths drums) from Legs Diamond and their fine album Out On Bail.)

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