Randy Rogers Band: Cut-by-Cut

Known throughout the southwest, and a favorite of stars like Dierks Bentley and Kenny Chesney, the Randy Rogers Band has just released their new eponymous album.  Here's the band's thoughts on each of their songs.

Oklahoma/Texas music stars Randy Rogers Band have just released their new eponymous album.  Here's the band's thoughts on each of their songs.

1. “Wicked Ways” (Jon Richardson)
Jon: “There’s probably a very common thread with my two tunes on the record. They both kind of have that Waylon beat. I started out with that on this song. It’s semi-autobiographical. I think I started writing it after a particularly wild weekend, and it’s kind of one of those songs about how maybe you wake up the next day and go, ‘Oh, what did I do? Why did I do that? That was ridiculously stupid.’ I had a good run of those for a while there.”

2. “Better Than I Ought To Be” (Randy Rogers, Gary Nicholson)
Randy: “I met a kid one night at the merchandise table after one of our shows and I asked him how he was doin’. This particular kid stuck out.  Instead of the typical answer, which is ‘Fine,’ ‘Everything’s great,’ ‘School sucks’ or ‘Work sucks,’ he said, ‘Well, I’m better than I oughta be.’ I said, ‘can I write that song?’ He gave me the thumbs-up to go ahead and write that song, and I’ve never seen him again. I was just tryin’ to write a tongue-in-cheek, feel-good song about how I feel like I’m lucky to be able to do what I do for a livin’.”

3. “Lonely Too Long” (Randy Rogers, George Ducas)
Randy: “That was the longest songwriting session that I had for this record. George and I met one afternoon, and we watched a storm roll into town. We threw around probably 10-15 different ideas for songs, and we wrote half-songs before we ever decided to write ‘Lonely Too Long.’ It came to us at the end of the day. I’d never written with George Ducas before, and it was an opportunity for me to get to know and spend time with him and pick his brain about the music industry, about songwriting and a whole lot of other things, life in general. So I had a really good day with him and had a good time writing that song.”

4. “One Woman” (Randy Rogers, Stephony Smith)
Randy: “‘One Woman’ is probably the most personal song I wrote for the record. I wrote it after my wife and I were engaged, about a month before I was married. In many ways, it was a wedding gift for my wife, and it’s just about how simple life is when you do decide to be with one person. It makes things so much easier, and it reflects just how happy I am with my personal life.”

5. “Never Be That High” (Randy Rogers, Stephony Smith)
Randy:  “I haven’t got a whole lot of feel-good music in my songwriting repertoire, but we wanted to kind of tap into that feel-good attitude—maybe ‘cause I’m happy now. I don’t know. But I just kinda wanted to tap into the way I felt back when I was a kid and runnin’ around doin’ things I shouldn’t be doin’, and how at the time you didn’t know it was so amazing. You just thought it was boring and part of everyday, mundane life, and lookin’ back on it now, you know you’ll never get to experience some of those things again.”

6. “Didn’t Know You Could” (Randy Rogers, Micky Braun)
Randy: “Sometimes if things aren’t going bad, it’s kind of hard to write gut-wrenching sad songs. Micky Braun and I are buddies and friends, and he’s a single guy, not married, and he was goin’ through a difficult time with the lady he was seeing. Things worked out in the long run, but just some of that raw emotion that he was goin’ through at the time is what that song is about. I always thought it would be a good comedy skit to have two songwriters, and one songwriter is goin’ through a hard time, and so this songwriter buddy calls him up and wants to take him to lunch and wants to pick his brain so that he can write a song. Not that I used Micky, but he had a lot to talk about.”

7. “In My Arms Instead” (Randy Rogers, Sean McConnell)
Randy: “‘In My Arms Instead,’ It was a cold day in Nashville, and I didn’t want to be there. I had been on the road for 26 days at that point, and I missed my girl back home. It was just a sad day. It was one of those Nashville days where it just rains all day long—dreary and cold and the trees had all turned—and we basically wrote what we saw and what we felt.”

8. “When The Circus Leaves Town” (Randy Rogers, Jon Richardson, Clint Ingersoll)
Jon: “Randy and I and another great songwriter from Oklahoma by the name of Clint Ingersoll, who’s written some other songs with us, too, we wrote that one together. We wanted to write an occupational love song, just kind of about, ‘This is what I do. It sounds crazy and weird, but it has it’s good points and it’s bad points, but I still enjoy it a lot.’ I’m not sure if it was inspired by one show in particular, ‘cause we actually wrote that one workin’ on songs for the last record. But I remember we had a couple of shows where there were just a ton of people and then I went home and woke up alone.”

Randy: “I had to leave early during that songwriting session because of a meeting, so I think I came up with about 10 percent of it. I’m really thankful those guys stuck in there and finished it.”

9. “Buy Myself A Chance” (Randy Rogers, Sean McConnell)

Randy: “I had done about 24 shows in a row, and I was supposed to get out and take a plane ride to Nashville the next day, and had some co-writes set up. I’d played my gig until 4:00 in the morning, slept an hour, got up, went to the airport, landed in Nashville.  I couldn’t sleep so I walked across the street, had a beer and heard Ronnie Milsap on the jukebox, ‘(There’s) No Gettin’ Over Me.’ I went back over to the hotel room and started writing as fast as I could, ‘Buy Myself A Chance,’ this honky-tonk, kinda dancin’, swingin’ kinda thing.”

10. “Break Even” (Geoffrey Hill)

Geoffrey: “The basic idea of that song would be that it’s about somebody—not necessarily me—who looks like he hit rock bottom, but you can sink lower. It’s like, ‘I can go way lower than this.’ It’s a sad, depressing kind of song, but at the same time, it’s pretty hopeful. It’s not hope for winning, I just wanna break even. That just says it all. And I just wanted it to rock. I think it does a pretty good job of rocking, like a little more on the rock ‘n’ roll side of country. That’s the main thing I wanted, I guess, was a kind of more up song that was kind of brooding at the same time.”

11. “Let It Go” (Randy Rogers, Radney Foster)

Randy: “Radney and I wrote three or four songs together this time, but only one made the record. This was the one that was the best. Again, upbeat and uptempo. The positive vibe of the song is the thing I like about it. Everybody goes through hardships, everybody goes through bad times, and there’s nothin’ you can do about it, you just grin and bear it. That’s kinda the theme of the song.  Radney is very capable of doin’ that. He has done that multiple times in songs that he’s released, so this is kind of a first-time thing for me, and I like it. It’s fine to be OK with life. It’s fine not to be pissed off and angry and frustrated. But it’s the hardest kind of song to write.  This song is for the guy that stole my guitar in Austin.”

12. “This Is Goodbye” (Heather Morgan, Clint Ingersoll)
Randy: “The first time I heard it, it damn near brought me to tears. It’s probably the saddest song I’ve ever heard. Just knowing Clint and knowing where he was when he wrote this song, it means something to me. I know all about his heartache and his hardships and certain things that he’s been through in life. So when I sing this song, when I recorded this song, when I do it live, I can actually believe in it. That’s important to me, as far as cutting outside material; I feel like I have to have some kind of personal connection with the song.”