Featuring "Sycamore Tree"
Studio collaboration with drummer/percussionist Josh Dekaney
Stripped down, intense, and deft... There's always room for an arresting rhyme to fall, for rippling fingerpicked runs to leap out in detail, and for spacious power chords to make you believe you're hearing a full band instead of two creative, connected musicians in a studio, playing live. These six songs—and Rodgers' truth-seeking, yarn-spinning lyrics—breathe in the moment, deeply.Rani Arbo
About the album
I love the acoustic guitar—in fact I’ve spent a good chunk of my life playing it, writing about it, and figuring out how to get a band’s worth of sound out of it. I even spent a decade as founding editor of a magazine called Acoustic Guitar…
I also love percussion—in fact for years I studied north Indian tabla drumming, and I’ve written numerous songs with just voice and hand drums and regularly perform them that way in solo concerts.
So it stands to reason that a guy like me would love to play guitar with a great drummer/percussionist—someone who knows how to enhance a groove without drowning out the nuances of the guitar. Drummers like this are rare; no offense, but they usually play so loud and overbearingly that others in the band are reduced to a shadow of their full sound…or they have to turn up to 11.
I have found one of these rare drummers in Joshua Dekaney, who is heard here playing a multi-percussion kit that includes cajón (wooden box drum), pandeiro (Brazilian tambourine), kick drum, ankle bells, pedal tambourine, and an assortment of way-cool shakers and shiny things that rattle and ring. The grooves he gets on this rig just make me smile. If you listen to these tracks, you will also hear my guitar smiling.
The acoustic guitar and percussion combo is at the heart of this CD. Most of what you hear is Josh and me playing live in the studio, with the vocal and guitar and drums all happening in real time, solos and all. There are very good reasons why most records are not made this way these days. Instead, songs are built by assembly line, instrument by instrument—which allows each part to be easily polished and tuned so that every note nails its pitch and every beat falls precisely on a mechanized grid.
That kind of industrial perfection is not possible when you record acoustic instruments and voices in real time. Instead what’s captured here is music as it actually happens in a room—with ideas raised and answered, tempos breathing slower or faster, and sounds with edges and flaws and surprises.
Thanks for joining us in that room.
Get the music
All words and music by Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers (Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers Music/ASCAP).
Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers: vocal, acoustic guitar, bass
Joshua Dekaney: percussion kit
Tim Burns: backing vocals
Melody Calley: backing vocals
Judy Stanton: violin
Rosie Rion: cello
Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Jocko at More Sound, except for backup vocal, string, and bass tracks recorded by JPR
Photography by Michelle Gabel
Design by Kristin Wallace