You could say Bess Rogers was born to make music. Her mother played the harpsichord and recorders in early music groups. Her father built those harpsichords, and she began learning to play them at only six years old. A few years later, when most kids were fretting about acne, voice-cracks, and the other ills of puberty, Bess was writing her first songs. And she hasn't stopped. She went on to earn her Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Studio Composition from SUNY Purchase's renowned Conservatory of Music. She moved to Brooklyn and became a regular in the New York scene, playing at The Knitting Factory, The Living Room, Pianos, and Southpaw, to name a few. In addition to her solo work, Bess plays guitar for such up-and-coming artists as Jenny Owen Youngs and Ingrid Michaelson.
In 2006, on a whimsical afternoon, Bess and her friend Dan Romer went into the studio to record a few of her songs. There was no plan for anything like the LP that would eventually coalesce, but the sessions were so productive that they kept happening again and again. And this spontaneity is captured by Rogers' independently released debut CD, Decisions Based on Information. Bess dances through genres on Decisions…, and the result is an eclectic and immensely enjoyable hodgepodge that manages to feel somehow familiar and wholly unique. A few weeks before the release of the CD, Bess was featured on Acoustic Long Island—the most listened to acoustic podcast on iTunes, no less—and there she proved she is no simple studio maven.
Bess is a compelling performer with nothing but a guitar; she impressed people for years with her wonderful songs and her beautiful, silky voice. What's impressive about Decisions… is its ability to straddle genre-lines and to throw in more instruments than you find in a high-school band without ever veering towards the muddled or confused. Where else would you find an accordion and a banjolele on a record filled with endless 'ba da da's and accessible lyrics that beg you to dig a little deeper? Bess' songs run the gamut from strange and waltzy to alt-country to brooding folk to twee pop, sometimes in the space of a single song. The only constant is Bess' obvious gift for melody, her luxurious, sultry, or sweet voice (depending on the moment), and Romer's stellar production.
In short, Decisions Based on Information is the first full-length record by a young woman who will undoubtedly make many more—and, dare I say it, probably even better—records in the years to come. To put it as shortly as possible, Bess Rogers is here. Time to pay attention.