Dustin Stout, fresh off a summer internship with CMT, sat down with sophomore commercial voice major Charles Rogers this week for the semester’s first installment of the Beat ‘N Track. Hailing from Stilwell, Kan., Rogers hit the ground running last year as a freshman with the coveted opening slot at the Country Music Showcase. At that point, he was just the new guy with the boldness to step out and sing country music unapologetically. But since then, he’s begun to reach beyond the Belmont boundaries as a seasoned musician who’s making a name for himself in the city with the music he has known all his life.
You sing country music. But more specifically, how would you describe your style?
I would describe my style as country rock. It’s country at heart, but it’s got that grunge that gives it sort of that gritty/nasty edge. I try to infuse a bit of soul into it as well; I feel that really brings out the passion of the music.
Your band is called the Charlie Rogers Band. How does your band inspire the path your music is taking?
We call ourselves The Charlie Rogers Band because without Seth, Haley, Carter and Jake, I’d be nowhere. I thought it was only fair to them. In a way, ”Charlie Rogers” has become a stage name for me even though it’s only a slight alteration. But the band is awesome. I’m thankful for them every day. They inspire me every practice. No matter what, they come in prepared and ready to have fun. Musically speaking, I think we’re becoming a lot bluesier because of all the jazz influence my players have. And honestly, I love it; it adds character to the sound.
What big names in country music influence your music?
I grew up listening to Rascal Flatts and The Dixie Chicks, as well as The Beatles. So I like to think my music is a bit of a fusion of all of that. It’s country with hints of pop and rock soul. Lately, though, my music has taken a shift and become more of soulful country rock with the influences of David Nail, Eli Young Band and Keith Urban.
You’re a featured artist on ”The Billy Block Show” broadcasting live weekly from Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge on Nashville’s 103.3 WKDF. Talk about how you got this opportunity, what it involves and how it’s helping you achieve some of your goals.
Billy Block really is an amazing guy. He takes unknown country artists and gives them a chance to be in front of the world. I met Billy one day on his show and walked up and asked him if he’d give my music a listen. He did and called me to ask me to be on his show. I was ecstatic! Over the last few months, I’ve been on his show off and on, mostly promoting my newest single,” Whoa,” as well as talking up my amazing band.
Talking about some of the music you have available, what can fans hear right now?
Our Facebook page contains all of our songs for free download, as does the website Noise Trade. That includes my first two EPs, as well as the single. I hope to put out a new record sometime within the next year, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
What’s your favorite song?
“Lost & Found.” It’s really one of those songs where all I did was empty my mind on a page. It is also one of those songs that means something different to everyone. The fan favorite, on the other hand, is either “Welcome to the Country” or “Whoa.” They’re just kind of feel-good pieces.
You’re a songwriter. What kind of things spark ideas for songs? Are you able to write a complete song in one sitting or does it take several tries?
You know, it all depends. There are songs like “Whoa” and “Welcome to the Country” that were written in one sitting, and then there are songs like “Lost & Found” that take some editing, ironing and breaks. I have yet to figure out a system when it comes to my writing. I just kind of let it flow. If something good comes out of it, great! If not, oh, well.
What’s currently the most played album on your iPod?
I’d have to say Eli Young Band’s ”Level” album. There isn’t a song on that album that I don’t love. It has passion and kind of makes you feel tough in a way, as well as broken and sensitive at times. Other than that, I’d probably have to say either The Beatles ”Rubber Soul” or Rascal Flatts’ “Me & My Gang.”
I understand The Charlie Rogers Band will perform at The Rutledge on Aug. 30 as the headlining act. What is your most memorable live music experience?
Yes, we perform a lot around town. We’re actually looking to perform more and maybe even tour in the summer, but I will always remember the 2011Country Showcase. It’s the first show we played as a band, and it was totally awesome.
Tell me more about the opportunity to play in the Country Showcase as a freshman.
The Country Showcase was a blast. I honestly had the time of my life for the 10 to 15 minutes I was up on that stage. It really puts things in perspective for you, and it affirmed for me that this is really what I want to do.
What’s next for you?
I’d say the future is looking bright for us, or at least I hope it is. I definitely want to put some new stuff out in the next calendar year as well as play a lot more shows. We’d love to get picked up by someone or something along those lines, and I definitely think a tour is in line for the summer.