JAMES BUDDY ROGERS - GUITAR & VOCALS
Most blues musicians can proudly recall their age and stage in life when they received their introduction to blues music. It is a coming of age in a sense – before the blues and after the blues. For Vancouver’s James ‘Buddy’ Rogers, life as he knew it was inherently different after discovering the blues.
James ‘Buddy’ Rogers learned to love the blues close to home. His dad, Bud worked for the railroad and often brought home records and a guitar and by the time little Buddy was 10 he was lifting licks. By 11 he’d formed a band and started gigging. Within two years he was a regular at local blues clubs. At 15 his band Texas Storm was being booked by Canada’s top agency for opening concert slots. “My dad went to the liquor control board and got a license that he would take to bars so I could legally play there. I began playing shows sitting in with all the great blues guys around Vancouver back then. The ones that really stand out, who took me under their wing, so to speak were the late Muddy Fraser, Tom and Jack Lavin, Jim Byrnes, Wailin’ Al Walker and Russell Jackson. These guys always invited me out to play with them and open for them.” Rogers recalls.
At the age of 19 Rogers teamed up with former B.B. King bassist Russell Jackson and began a tour that lasted five years. Based in Kansas City, they played an endless string of clubs, concerts and festivals sharing the bill with Canned Heat, Sam Taylor, The Holmes Brothers, Elvin Bishop, Kenny Neal, Katie Webster and countless others. In 2000 Buddy started his own band and played blues clubs across Canada and Europe. When he wasn’t working under his own name he appeared on US tours and recordings with many other blues acts.
Rogers latest CD 'By My Side' is an 11 song CD which includes ten originals by Rogers and one cover made famous by Freddie King ‘Goin’ Down’. Rogers is backed by long time band mates Mike Wedge on bass and James Badger on drums. Joining the CD on piano, B3 and wurly is Texas native Lewis Stephens who is known for his work with Freddie King, Delbert McClinton and Mike Zito. Lewis recently appeared on Gary Clark Jr’s CD ‘The Story of Sonny Boy Slim’.
James ‘Buddy’ Rogers’ main influences on guitar – Johnny Watson, Jimmie Vaughan and the three Kings – plus years of being a blues road warrior have helped shape him into a well-seasoned blues guitarist. By My Side showcases a guitar and voice forged by a life in the blues. James ‘Buddy’ Rogers; his music is here to stay.
SLAMMIN' MIKE WEDGE - BASS
Born and raised in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Mike has called Vancouver, BC home for over thirty years and in that time has established himself as a solid and dynamic bass player, well versed in Blues, Rock and Country music. Having learned his first chords from his mom on guitar at age 6, he developed his ear by playing along with whatever records he could get his hands on, but it was seeing Johnny Winter on TV that made a lasting influence on him at age 11. “It was like the top of my head blew off, man and the world opened up for me musically, realizing that you could play however you wanted to and that you could make it your own” he explains, and still counts Winter as a fundamental influence to this day.
Although he played guitar, Mike was always drawn to the sound of the bass and so seized the opportunity to play it when a spot was available in the school band and says that the first time he played it, “it felt like home”. Since then, Mike toured North America extensively, as a longtime band member of Memphis resident and Beale Street mainstay Slidin’ Clyde Roulette’s band, and with Blind Pig recording artist Frankie Lee. Other tenures include the Cal Batchelor Band as well as being an often called sideman in Vancouver. He has played with a who’s who of Vancouver musicians including Tom Lavin (Powder Blues), Jim Byrnes, Paul Kype, Jerry Adolphe, Mike Norman, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne with Shuggie Otis, Gerald Charlie and Robbie King among many others too numerous to list here.
Slammin’ Mike is proud to be part of James “Buddy” Rogers band and looks forward to bringing his bass to your town!
JAMES BADGER - DRUMS
Vancouver, BC born James Badger is a performance and studio drummer. Specializing in Roots-style music, he thrives on playing blues, old country and country swing, rockabilly, New Orleans-style, R&B and old rock & roll. His nickname in the blues world is “Hollywood Jimmie” because he’s so NOT Hollywood.
Performance and recording credits include: Juno-nominated James Buddy Rogers, Long John Baldry, Jimmy D Lane, Juno-winner Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne, Russell Jackson, Steve Kozak, Nigel Mack, Lesismore, The Mojo Stars, JJ Lavallee, Phat Edna’s Soul Revue, The Rocket Revellers, Lonesome Sinners, Bill Hills & The Fabulous Aces and DerbyTown.
HOWARD GREENSTEIN - KEYS
Howard Greenstein is a keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist who started on piano at age 5 and guitar at 12. While he was trained in classical and jazz piano, he learned blues and rock guitar by ear. After playing jazz and R & B, Howard came home to the blues and is a committed bluesman. He has played Hammond organ in a number of blues house bands in Greater Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and has accompanied many Canadian and U.S. blues artists on organ, piano and electric pianos. He loves playing blues with the JBR Band was thrilled to record with the band at Sun Studio in Memphis and play on Beale Street.