Rodger King is a country boy with a love for good music and fine horses. He started playing music "at about the age of 9 or 10" as he put it. Rodger shared this story with me.
"There was a service station in our small town with a used guitar and small amp in the window for sale. I begged for it for months it seemed to me. Finally my parents bought it for me. I realized then that it only had 3 strings on it. They thought I'd do like alot of other kids and mess with it a couple of weeks and drop it, so I had to beg for strings, but finally I got a set of Black Diamond strings. We took it to a friend of ours who strung it up left handed for me. He taught me three chords. My hand was so small I had to make G chord with my thumb on top of the neck of the guitar. He said there was no need for me to return to him til I could swap from chord to chord without thinking about it. That was on a Wednesday night. Just so happened, we lived next door to the city water tower, and he was the guy who serviced it daily. Thursday evening when he came to service that tower, I met him at the gate. My hand and arm from my forearm down were
swolen, but I could change them chords. He told me then that I was gonna learn to play. He told me when I was older that the night he strung my guitar up, after I left he said to his wife that I'd never learn to play cause my hand was too small. Musically, that's where it all began for me!"
Rodger loves and plays all kinds of music. Country, Bluegrass, Gospel, Blues, and Swing are his favorites. "I believe the secret to becoming a good musician or singer is to discover your own personal talent level, and work within the boundries of that to be the best you can be at that level.". "Some of the artists I enjoy most are not super-pickers, but people who play and sing with soul! Soul is something that can't be taught, you either have it or you don't!"
Rodger's music has taken him all over the United States and abroad. He has graced the stage of many major bluegrass festivals, clubs, Silver Dollar City, joined Bill Monroe on stage at Dogpatch USA, played many times on stage with Josh Graves and Kenny Baker, as well as recording an album with them. He has also played many churches, revivals, and other church related events. Rodger has also shared the stage with such artists as Alison Krauss, Tommy Cash, Mac Wiseman, Chubby Wise, Blues Boy Willie and many others. He has also opened shows for George Jones, Ricky Skaggs, Marie Osmond, Moe Bandy, The Kendalls, Marty Haggard, Ronnie Reno, Marty Stuart and many many bluegrass legends as well.
Rodger got his first TV exposure as a youngster about the age of 13 or 14 on the "Cal Dring Show" on KATV in Little Rock, AR. "It was on weekdays from 7 til 8 am. The first few times I was on there, I was live, so we had to get up REALLY early to get to Little Rock on time. After a few times though, he invited me to come to his Sunday afternoon tapings. I liked that cause I got to stay home and watch the show too, and sleep later!"
He has worked the "Ernest Tubb Record Shop" several times as well as numerous other radio shows through the years.
Rodger's song "Arkansas" won fourth place in the sesquacentenial song contest for the state. "Arkansas You Run Deep In Me" written by Waylon Holyfield was the winning song.
Rodger loves Johnny Cash. "I bet the first 20 songs or so I learned were all Johnny Cash songs!" he said. "My parents and other people would try to get me to learn songs by other artists, but I wouldn't do it." "When I'd been playing about six months or so, Johnny Cash, June Carter, The Carter Family, Carl Perkins, and The Statler Brothers came to The Barton Collisieum in Little Rock for a concert. My parents got tickets, and we got there really early before the show started and found our seats. Daddy said he was going out to smoke. In a few minutes he came back and took me with him. He took me to a fenced off entrance. He picked me up to where my thighs were at the top of the chain link fence and told me to lean forward and look around ths corner. LOW and BEHOLD Johnny Cash was standing there, his back flat against that block wall. When he saw me he turned to me, stuck out his hand and said, "Hello! I'm Johnny Cash" He talked to me a few
minutes and encouraged me to stick with playing the guitar and singing. That chain link fence was killing my thighs, but I wouldn't utter a word about it. Finally he said, "Son, I'd like to visit longer, but there's a crowd headed this way and I don't have time to visit them all." and then he walked away.".
"I had an a great aunt who knew an aunt of Johnny's.". A couple of years after my encounter with him, my aunt told his about my being a big Johnny Cash fan. His aunt told mine how to contact him, and so she did, and told Johnny himself about me and how I loved him. That year for Christmas he sent me some autographed pictures and 2 autographed albums, "A Thing Called Love" and a "Christmas" album. To see that he'd take time to do that for a kid he didn't know made me like him even more."
"As time went by my daddy bought me the Merle Haggard album, "Same Train A Different Time" and I was immediately hooked on Merle, and Jimmie Rodgers. Norman Hamlet turned me on to the Dobro guitar as well on that album, and from that point on, I got interested in all kinds of music!"
Rodger is a very versatile musician, singer, songwriter, who adapts WELL when introduced to new types and styles of music. "I give credit to God for any so called talent I may have!" he told me. I asked him what his favorite music is, and thought he answered me well with, "I like any kind of music, as long as it's GOOD music!"