Jeff Rogers 2024

Jeff Rogers Goes South to Look for His ‘Dream Job’

Canadian roots rocker Jeff Rogers went to Muscle Shoals to record Dream Job. He and his band carve out nine tracks of bluesy piano-centered rock.

Dream Job
Jeff Rogers
Diesel Entertainment
16 February 2024

Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama is famous for producing classic soul and R&B. It was the place where legends such as Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, and Etta James recorded some of their most important work and later where artists such as Bob Dylan, Duane Allman, and the Rolling Stones made records to try and capture the magic of the place. The multi-talented Canadian roots rocker Jeff Rogers decided to head to Muscle Shoals to record his third album, Dream Job. He and the band carve out nine slabs of bluesy piano-centered rock.

Rogers has a rasp in his throat, which gives his vocals a nasty edge. He makes a playful line, “We go together like hide and seek,” which sounds as sexual as the earthier verse, “We go together like hot and sweaty.” His lyrics are frequently suggestive of sex and violence (he wrote all the songs) in a noirish sense. The words aren’t as important as the mood being set.

The Muscle Shoal musicians accompanying Rogers here include guitarist Kelvin Holly (Little Richard, Bobby Bland), keyboardist Clayton Ivey (The Staple Singers, Thelma Houston), drummer Justin Holder (Keb Mo’, Delbert McClinton), and bassist Shonna Tucker (Booker T. Jones, Drive-By Truckers). They provide Rogers with a steady foundation over which to sing. There are times when the music can drag as Rogers seems too relaxed. When he sings tunes like “So Worth the Wait”, one must wonder why he never really gets excited. The song inadvertently suggests one is still waiting for something to happen.

These songs are meant to be heard live, but the Ottawa musician does not tour playing his music far from his local area. The record is the next best thing. Rogers is much more passionate singing about performing live than he is about making love. He is an entertainer, and that’s the stuff that keeps him vital. There’s an honesty about that which keeps Rogers from falling into cliché.

There is something strange about a contemporary musician from one country headed to one that previously possessed a kind of magic one couldn’t find at home. What is music but magic? Rogers went to Alabama to recapture the feeling the old songs gave him. He’s undoubtedly succeeded on one level. The songs are smooth and easily fall into the same genres as the ones that serve as the roots. But it’s not clear if he accomplished this on a deeper level.  

Dream Job is an excellent example of what an R&B/blues record should sound like. There’s an earnest professionalism about the project. There are no production errors to mar the listening experience. But it might have been better if there were. Rogers sounds like he’s performing at work and doesn’t want to mess up in front of the boss. He sings about what it would be like to get \ to the bandstand and play live. That might include bad notes, false starts, and all sorts of problems—but he should remember that’s all part of the art of the best music.

RATING 7 / 10