Winnipeg folk/roots duo Roger Roger are kicking off 2016 with the release of their debut CD Fairweather next week. The popular duo include Red Deer among their many western Canadian stops on Feb. 3rd at Fratters.
Roger Roger is truly a family affair.
Twin siblings Lucas and Madeleine Roger are both singer/songwriters who have joined forces, each playing guitar and harmonizing for each other’s songs. The offspring of producer/engineer/musician Lloyd Peterson (who co-produced Fairweather with Roger Roger), the twins each have a gift for songwriting that must have something to do with virtually growing up in a recording studio.
“Our dad is a recording studio owner, a music producer and a musician himself, so we spent a lot of time as children playing pool at the studio or just hanging out and listening to whatever band was recording,” recalls Madeleine.
“It was sort of tantalizing because there would be this ‘spaceship’ of buttons in front of us that we weren’t allowed to touch,” she added with a laugh. “So we had a lot of years like that.” Peterson also had a studio at home, so needless to say, music was an essential part of the fabric of home life.
“We’ve always been around the recording process more than anything else and I think it became obvious to us during the recording of Fairweather how at home we felt in a recording studio. The whole process just felt so natural and comfortable.”
Lucas agreed. “It was just something we had witnessed for awhile, and now we were taking part in the recording process. It felt right to be there.”
They each bring their exceptional creativity to the project and embrace their differences, bringing a balance of folk, roots, and rock-inspired songs in a beautifully produced album that makes for a remarkable first recording.
“Listening to music has always been and still is huge in this house,” added Lucas about the twin’s exposure to all kinds of tunes growing up. “There are always piles of CDs and records everywhere and right now, there are four guitars on the couch.”
Madeleine added that a love for music extended beyond their immediate family as well.
“Our extended family has lots of singers as well, so there were always lots and lots of family campfires and visits where someone would be playing the piano and everyone would be singing.”
The Roger twins haven’t always played music together. Their early years saw Lucas fronting Winnipeg rock and roll outfit Modern Man and rebuilding hot-rods, while Madeleine immersed herself in theatre, kayaking and travel. “I have this whole history of theatre and theatre performance. I studied acting in university and did a whole bunch of self-created plays and performed in community theatre, too. I also got involved in stage work and a bit of sound design for theatre.” She recalls eventually picking up a guitar after moving away from the theatre world a bit, and it was around that time she got right into songwriting.
“I loved it so much. I had spent my whole life thinking about the craft,” she said. “So it came a bit later, but I’ve never found anything I love more than songwriting.”
Lucas started playing in rock bands during his high school years. “I just thought that’s what you did, because everyone around me was,” he laughs. “I didn’t really start getting involved in the songwriting process and really wanting to play music more until I built my first acoustic guitar,” he said, adding it’s a career he’s still involved with.
“I started really changing how I looked at songwriting and how I looked at performing.” When he and Madeleine started collaborating, it really started coming together.
They didn’t collaborate in their creative efforts until one night when Lucas overheard Madeleine playing her first batch of songs in their living room. He dug what he heard, grabbed his guitar and an armload of his own tunes, and Roger Roger was born.
It wasn’t long after they began working together that they decided to put together a CD. Paring down the numerous songs each had written to what would actually end up on the project proved a rather seamless endeavour as well. There was about 40 to 50 at the start to explore.
Roger Roger has performed twice at the Winnipeg Folk Festival as part of the Young Performers Program, showcased at the Folk Music Ontario Conference, entertained on board VIA Rail, hosted songwriters’ workshops, and are gearing up for the Canadian folk festival circuit, ready to melt hearts with their twinly harmonies and knock socks off with the craft of their songs.