Roy Rogers and The Rhythm Kings

Slide guitarist Roy Rogers and his band play their blues at full force. There's not much that's traditional or laid back about their music.

"It's a fasten-your-seat-belts-and-let-it-all-hang-out kind of thing," Rogers says. "We rock up the blues and cover a range of songs. I always tell people to bring their dancing shoes because we like to stretch out."

The power trio, with Rogers on guitars, Kevin Hayes on drums and Steve Ehrmann on bass, has played together for years.

"Kevin also played for some 27 odd years with the Robert Cray band, and Steve and I both played with John Lee Hooker in the '80s."

Rogers likes to take eclectic modern blues, Americana and roots music to a place that speaks to him, he says. It's based on Delta blues, but explores new territory. One critic wrote that Rogers has divined the ancient language of the Mississippi Delta and forged a modern link to rock 'n' roll.

"I bring a lot of different guitars with me, so there's a range of tonality."

He may pick up a 12-string Dobro, an amplified, acoustic 0-16 New York Martin, or his double-necked, custom electric built by lutier Sean Chappel of Virginia.

"I like different tunings," he says. "I can switch necks on the custom electric and get a whole different way to play a song."

Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, in the Music Recital Hall on the Southern Oregon University campus, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland. Tickets cost $22 or $25 and can be purchased online at or at the Music Coop.

Rogers couldn't make a stop in Ashland without saying hello to his old friend John Brenice, who owns Music Coop.

"That store used to be in Petaluma," he says. "John is well-versed in old blues and world music. You can find stuff in his music shop that you can't get anywhere else. There's not many stores like his around anymore."

Born in 1950 in Redding, Calif., and raised in Vallejo, Rogers discovered Robert Johnson and other great blues players early in his life. By the age of 13, he was wearing a gold lame jacket and playing Little Richard and Chuck Berry tunes in a rock 'n' roll band.

Rogers played with various groups throughout the '60s and '70s. He formed his own band, the Delta Rhythm Kings, in 1980 and hit the international club and festival circuit.

Rogers released a solo album, "Chops Not Chaps," in 1985, showcasing his slide guitar technique on 11 originals and four covers of Johnson's songs. More than a dozen albums have followed — mostly on the Blind Pig recording label — and featured collaborations with such artists as Hooker, Sammy Hagar, Bonnie Raitt, Elvin Bishop, Steve Miller, Norton Buffalo and Ray Manzarek (The Doors).

"Split Decision" is the newest studio recording by Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings, released in 2009 on the Blind Pig label.

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