The Randy Rogers Band returns to Hurricane Harry’s for a Halloween Eve concert tonight. But it may be hard to top one Halloween show from the band’s past — the time Rogers and company took the Harry’s stage dressed as a mariachi band.
“That was the hottest I’ve ever been onstage in my whole entire life,” Rogers says in a recent phone interview. Though he says the crowd enjoyed the performance, it wasn’t pretty afterward.
“I couldn’t get my pants off after the show,” he says. “They were stuck to me. It gets hot in Harry’s.”
Rogers is a mainstay of the Texas country scene, but in tackling the band’s next album, he says he wanted to make a “really country album.”
“I just started really trying to hone in on traditional themes,” he says. “I think country music in general right now is lacking a real traditional presence. I know that I’m not a typical hat act. I’ve never ridden a bull or anything like that. I’m not a cowboy. But I love that kind of music.”
The album, set for release on Jan. 15, was recorded at Cedar Creek Recording in Austin, where the band made its first two albums. Producer Buddy Cannon, who also helmed Willie Nelson’s recent album with Merle Haggard, was along for the ride.
“It just had that vibe,” Rogers says. “It just had a throwback kind of vibe to it. That’s kind of what we were after.”
The album’s title, Nothing Shines Like Neon, was inspired by Kent Finlay, a mentor to Rogers. The owner of Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos died the night before the band started recording the album, Rogers says. He asked Finlay’s daughter for some of his lyrics, in hopes of finding a song title.
“I pulled that title from one of his verses,” he says, “just as a tribute to him for giving me my start and giving our band a first gig. Just the important role he played in my life personally and in my professional life as a musician.”
Collaborations will likely be a highlight of the upcoming album. Rogers teams up with Jerry Jeff Walker on Taking It As It Comes, and with Jamey Johnson on Acting Crazy. And he trades vocals with Alison Krauss on Look Out Yonder. The only downside was scheduling — Rogers and Krauss weren’t in the studio at the same time, and he laments that he has “yet to hang out with Alison Krauss.”
But when the vocals were merged, Rogers had quite a reaction.
“I cried,” he says, “and then I laughed. I felt pretty humble. To me, she has one of the most beautiful recorded voices ever.”