JAMES 'BUDDY' ROGERS
CD review: MY GUITAR'S MY ONLY FRIEND
By: Dan Brisebois

With passion and vigor, the debut album from James 'Buddy' Rogers shines a new light on the blues, and the exposure is bright, illuminating one of Canada's hottest young blues exports on the scene today.

Most musicians would consider this Vancouver native's resume to be full of career highlights. But in reality, it's barely begun. Since first picking up the guitar at the tender age of 10, he was a regular around the local blues clubs within only a couple of years. By 15, his band Texas Storm was being booked across Canada.

In 1995, at only 19 years old, he teamed with former BB King bassist Russell Jackson for a five year long troad trip that took them to Kansas City. There, they played an endless string of clubs, concerts, and festivals while sharing the bill with the likes of Jim Byrnes, Canned Heat, Sam Taylor, Elvin Bishop, Kenny Neal, The Holmes Brothers, and Katie Webster, among others. A true road warrior, he's also played major shows throughout Europe.

MY GUITAR'S MY ONLY FRIEND stays true to the genre, but with a twist. The bulk of the album is actually covers of Powder Blues standards. And he couldn't have found a more qualified producer to tackle the ambitioius project, none other than the writer of the songs - Juno Award winner Tom Lavin.

But by no stretch of the imagination does that hamper the album, and in fact, his take on songs like the title track, "Lovin' Kissin' Huggin'," "Blame It On The Blues," "Disappearing Baby Blues," and "I'm On The Road Again" is like dusting off an old hat and accessorizing it with today's fashion. The production is slick, the licks are honest, and the songs are true to the originals, but brought into today's musical landscape. Make no mistake about it - they are the blues - but with a pop flavour that will not only satisfy the true afficianados, but open up the jar to a whole new audience, as well.

Three of James' original songs are also included, and "Dawg," "Guitar Sue," and "Buddy's Walk" (the only instrumental) are a perfect fit... for a perfect album for today's blues audience.

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