On the Edge: Roger Creager

If you ask Roger Creager what kind of music he makes, you aren’t likely to get an answer that easily fits into conventional radio-format definitions. Texas country seems the most likely description, but that encompasses a variety of sounds as vast as the Lone Star State. Which is accurate. “I think that Texas is a different country,” Roger says with a laugh. “We have our own pride in our creativity that extends from Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jerry Jeff Walker and everything in between. And thank God it does, because it allows us the creative freedom to do what we want and still have a home.”

Roger admits that the freedom to do what he does isn’t landing him on mainstream country radio, but he also says, “We are country.” And that’s true. He counts George Strait and Waylon Jennings among his biggest influences, but he also tips his hat to Jimmy Buffett, Lyle Lovett and Texas troubadour Jerry Jeff. Roger’s diversity is well-represented on all six of his albums. “I do everything from standard country music, to outlaw Texas country, to New Orleans jazz, to Mexican music, to Frank Sinatra,” he says, before admitting, “I write that way to keep myself and my band entertained. We have to play these songs night after night after night, and we don’t want to get bored. It keeps us on our toes and it keeps it fun for us. And if it’s fun for us, it’s fun for the crowd.”

Roger and his band are one of the hottest acts in the Southwest and they are rapidly reaching the rest of the country, thanks in large part to the diversity of the music. From the boot-stomping sing-along “The Everclear Song” to the up-tempo, but emotive “I Got the Guns,” to the achingly lonesome “Late Night Case of the Blues,” the Roger Creager Band takes a crowd on an up-and-down (mostly up) journey of a 15-year history of recording. “We want people to have fun. We want to play them good music, but we want them to have fun and come back, and tell their friends to come back,” he says. 

With the release of his newest project, Surrender, Roger once again taps into that deep wellspring of creative diversity for one of his most mature collections to date. Oh, there’s still an array of beer-drinking honky-tonkers, like “Turn It Up,” but when Roger mellows out with the waltzy “If You Really Love Me,” it’s heaven in three-quarter time. He even gives a fresh face to the Bob Marley classic “Redemption Song.” 

Don’t expect that his next album will sound anything like Surrender, though. “Something about not getting major radio airplay has caused an epiphany in my brain that’s telling me, basically, if they’re not going to play me, then I’m free to do whatever I want and sound however I want,” he says with a broad smile. “And so this new project . . . I may get a little weird with it.”

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