This is the third album recorded by ”Roger and The Rockets” and the second album recorded in a professional studio using top-of-the line equipment by people who knows how to use them. Real and for the most part vintage instruments and amplifiers have been used by the band giving the tracks life and an authentic live feeling. The songs themselves covers a broad spectrum of different Americana styles, from rock and blues to hillbilly or bluegrass with a little spice of Swedish traditional folk music sprinkled on top The songs are all written and sung by Roger Häggström, the arrangements and the individual tracks are made by all the members of the band.
We are five members in the band and most of us play more than one instrument. Roger Häggström plays rhythm guitar and unusual stringed instruments from a big private vintage collection of instruments, Björn Sohlin plays the violin, harmonica and cello, Niclas Vigren plays stand-up and electric bass, Mats Byström plays almost anything, on this record we have keyboards, guitars, mandolins and banjos played by him, Pelle Henricsson is the producer/technician, but also the drummer and percussionist on the CD. On a couple of tunes we have Annelie Vigren on backing vocals to get that feminine touch we surely need.
The band is mainly playing live at small venues in and around our hometowns Örnsköldsvik and Umeå in the northern part of Sweden. Not as often as we would like to though, all the members of the band loves playing before an enthusiastic audience. We hope that this CD will open up for new opportunities and more gigs in the future.
Artist: Roger and the Rockets
Album: Dirty Stuff
Review by Matheson Kamin
Swedish band Roger and the Rockets have been creating music for many years. Fronted by Roger Haggstrom and including multi-talented musician Mats Bystrom, bassist Niclas Vigren, violin player Bjorn Sohlin and drummer and album producer Pelle Henricsson, the five-piece band has just recently put out their third release of music. The album, Dirty Stuff, is a collection of songs that combines many different styles of music. Because of the combination of styles like rock, blues and folk in their music, Roger and the Rockets fall under the genre of Americana.
The Dirty Stuff release from Roger and the Rockets begins with the track “Little Things”. The song has a very unmistakable sound that seems to have been influenced by Bob Dylan. In fact, it is the vocals of Roger Haggstrom that really brings about a reminder of Dylan and his unique vocal quality. The lyrics also seem to capture the feel of Dylan’s style of writing. The folk-rock feel of the song “Little Things” takes the listener back to a time when the songs had more of a meaning than today’s music.
Where “Little Things” has a folk feel to the music, the second song of “Storm in a Pond” has more of a blues-y feel to it. The harmonica from Bjorn Sohlin helps add a bit of the blues to the track as the rest of the band creates a track that is reminiscent of 60’s British Invasion music from the likes of The Yardbirds or Cream. The groove created by the band on this track lets the listener know just how well the band plays together.
It is on the song “Sweety” that Roger and the Rockets have created one of the strongest tracks on Dirty Stuff. The lyrics of the song are fun to sing along with and the music is fun to listen to. The guitar solo featured on the track will no doubt remind you of George Harrison from the later years of his career. The resulting track actually feels like something that easily could have belonged on one of the albums from The Traveling Wilburys.
The song “Have Mercy” slows the pace down a little as Roger and the Rockets once again adds a little touch folk to the musical approach of this track. The simplicity of the music plus the addition of strings and the female vocals of Annelie Vigren add a lot of beauty to the track.
Roger and the Rockets bring the energy of the music back up on the song “Wanna Make Love to You”. The band seems to embrace the sound and style of The Doors on this track. The music and the meaning of the lyrics bring to mind the writing style of Jim Morrison and the rest of the group. While the song does feel a bit dated when compared to today’s music, it is because the band has created a track that focuses on the talent of the musicianship of the members of the group and the songwriting of Roger Haggstrom.
The song “Tread Lightly” finds the band in a folk state of mind. The violin, mandolin and double bass all come together to create a song that fits very nicely in folk music. The change of pace with this track offers a very different look at the musicians that make up Roger and the Rockets. If you hadn’t heard the other songs that came before “Tread Lightly” on the album, you would figure the band was a folk music outfit.
On the title track of the release, “Dirty Stuff,” Roger and the Rockets seem to let loose with their hardest track on the album. The energy of the band on this track along and Roger Haggstrom’s rough vocals, with the humor of the lyrics, creates a track that captures the attention of the listener.
The Dirty Stuff release from Roger and the Rockets ends with the song “Salty Water”. The folk song is very sparse in its musical quality. With only viola and mandolin along with Haggstrom’s vocals, the final track of the album brings the release to a close on a very low-key note.
The various styles of music on Dirty Stuff from Roger and the Rockets helps shape the release in a way that it never dulls and keeps the listener entertained. Each and every time the band changes styles, you get to experience the depth to the talent of the members of the band. And with the band’s various influences you would sooner figure that the Sweden-based band is either American or English. The sound of the band’s 2012 release reinforces the adage that ‘music is universal’. Whatever nationality, Roger and the Rockets have created a release that any music lover, no matter the location, will enjoy thoroughly and completely.