Broken Down Love
Melt Shop Records
A Cool and Soulful Memphis/Nashville Country Rocking Americana Hybrid
After spending too many years in his youth trying to ‘make it’ in the Rock World, Peter Rogan changed track mid-stream, moved to New York and turned to Jazz to make a living, which paid the bills; but even though his songwriting got him to be a three-time finalist in the Great American Song Contest in 2014, 2016 and 2018; yet actual ‘success’ still evaded him; so like so many before him, he packed his bags and moved back to his hometown of Reading PA, where he now works in a Steel Mill and writes and plays in his spare time.
Which brings us to this; his second album, originally financed successfully via a Kickstarter appeal.
The titular track, Broken Down Love opens the album; and apart from the relative success in the Great American Song Contest, nothing of the above springs to mind; as it’s a fully formed slice of Sad Americana, with a hefty dose of Alt. Country in the melody, which combine to become a smokey and atmospheric tale of heartbreak.
Track #2 Short Shifter Blues follows and is a bit crunchier, with a downtown Chicago Blues feel to the mix; and the first time I played it I couldn’t quite put my finger on who Peter ‘sounded like’ ……. but the penny soon dropped when his a slightly slower and Countryfried rendition of the Stones’ It’s Only Rock n Roll slithered and slinked out of the car speakers; he sounds more like Mick Jagger than Mick Jagger does these days. I doubt it’s ‘affected’ in any way; just a happy coincidence.
Please don’t let that worry you; as this album is as much about Rogan’s songs as it is the way he sings them; and sing them he most certainly does; squeezing every last drop of emotion as possible out of Will Kimbrough’s delightful Don’t Be Afraid of The Rain and John Hiatt’s emotionally charged Thank You Girl; which just might be the best song the Rolling Stones never recorded this century!
I really should stop with the Jagger/Stones connection; but occasionally it’s just so obvious …… but on the slower and more intimate songs like Butter Lane and Ships a’ Burnin it’s a lot less obvious and it’s the way he sings his own articulate words that capture your attention.
There’s light and shade throughout BROKEN DOWN LOVE with a superb mix of Rockers and slow burning Rollers too; which brings me to my selection of Favourite Song.
The first day it was obviously going to be the slow and sultry All That’s Left is The Blues; which mirrored exactly how I felt that evening as work was getting me down.
(Which is always something that staggers me about music; how a songwriter a 1,000 miles away from me has the ability to get inside my head and replicate my most personal feelings even though they’ve never met me.)
Then there’s the swampy My Kinda Strange, and the battle between Rogan and Will Kimbrough’s guitars, punctuated by some dynamic organ playing by Phil Madeira which which wouldn’t have been outta place on FM Radio any time in the last 50 years.
Then, there’s Dancin’ Naked.
Significantly different from everything else here; although this Soulful Memphis/Nashville Country Rocker hybrid, featuring the McCrary Sisters on harmonies is simply a song deserving a huge audience across the world …… it’s a Honky Tonk belter of a love song, the likes of which you keep for Special Occasions.
Everything about this album is deceptive; right from the cover art (which would have made me pick it up in a Record Shop btw); the subtle changes in tempo make Country Songs actually Rock and his softer acoustic songs have biting lyrics; and then of course there’s his singing style ….. it works for me on several levels; and even the Jagger ‘thing’ isn’t really that obvious after a couple of plays.
Yet again; it’s surprises like this that keep us going at RMHQ, Peter Rogan has been a fabulous discovery that’s unlikely to have a marketing budget to get reviews in the more famous magazines and websites ….. so it’s left to you and me to shout about Peter Rogan’s talents from the ROOFTOPS!
Released February 1st 2022
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