The Randy Rogers Band has played on plenty of historic stages over the years: The Ed Sullivan Theater in New York, Red Rocks in Colorado and Texas mainstays including Billy Bob’s and John T. Floore Country Store.
“Man, I’ve had pretty good luck at playing some of those nostalgic and historical venues,” Rogers says with a chuckle.
But a recent performance earned the label of “bucket list item” for Rogers and his band — a show at Nashville’s legendary Ryman Auditorium.
“Magical,” Rogers says in describing the experience. “It sounds cheesy, but I couldn’t stop smiling. We had a great crowd. I just felt like it was a very important night, and it was something that I’m proud of.”
The Ryman’s history, as detailed on its website, is tough to top: speeches by Teddy Roosevelt and Charlie Chaplin, and performances by Harry Houdini, Will Rogers, Elvis Presley, Louis Armstrong and a slew of country legends. The Johnny Cash Show was filmed there. And The Grand Ole Opry broadcast from there until 1974.
“I was a little nervous about it,” Rogers says. “Leading up to it, I thought more about the historical significance of the venue than I did when I was out there. I was trying to have fun when I was out there. … It was one of those shows that went by so quick. Some shows kind of drag and drag. This show was, ‘Wow. Oh, crap, it’s over.’”
Rogers and his band perform tonight at Hurricane Harry’s. Though the Ryman it’s not, the local venue gets high praise from Rogers: “In the party-fun department, Hurricane Harry’s is way up there.”
The band’s last release was Homemade Tamales, a live album released in April. Next up is Rogers’ collaboration with longtime touring buddy Wade Bowen. Rogers calls the project “a really country-sounding throwback record.”
“Our heroes were always in the studio, it seems like,” he says. “And nowadays, the music business has kind of gotten away from that, and it’s kind of single-driven. We wanted to go make an entire record together, songs we wrote or songs we love. And we did that. We tried to stay true to the vein of a throwback sound, a Waylon Jennings-Willie Nelson influence. … The things we think are cool, and the sound we think is cool — for whatever reason, country music has kind of gotten away from — we tried to go after that.”
Rogers says the album, produced by Lloyd Maines, will be released in the early part of next year. Meanwhile, he’s writing and setting the groundwork for the next album with his band. They’ll head to the studio with producer Buddy Cannon in March and plan on releasing the album next fall.
“That’s going to happen in Austin at Cedar Creek, where we made Rollercoaster and Like It Used to Be,” he says. “Buddy has been doing a lot of stuff with Willie Nelson lately. He’s familiar with Austin and has agreed to come down and make a record down here. … I’m really excited about working with Buddy. He’s phenomenal.”