Singer/songwriter Edward “Ed” Rogers spent the first twelve years of his life in Birmingham, England before his family moved to New York City around the time of the British Invasion. He started his musical career drumming for several garage bands. But when an October 1985 subway accident left him without his right arm and his right leg below the knee, Rogers turned to songwriting and singing and found writing songs and being the frontman to be much more rewarding than playing drums. It wouldn’t be surprising that both of those events have impacted Rogers personally and creatively – certainly, his material has the British preternaturally wry sense of humor, a wistful sort of sadness, and the optimism of one who has lived truly profound experiences.
So I recently caught Rogers perform songs from his newly released effort Porcelain at the unofficially opened new location for the Cutting Room. As Rogers told the audience, the material on Porcelain was particularly inspired by the classic rock albums released between 1972 and 1976 or so. Sonically, the songs are reminiscent of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars-era David Bowie, Marc Bolan and T. Rex. The album has the gritty, bluesy stomp of that era’s glam rock, which actually belies some really tight, crafted songwriting. Admittedly, Rogers and his backing band the Biba Crowd sound invigorated by the ability to rock out in a way that his previous 1960s sounding release doesn’t. It’s a little bit of a sonic departure that manages some familiar elements. The ballads sound as though they could have come off any one of his previous albums. Granted, it may not be the most original material but Rogers has an amiably roguish charm that can win an audience, and the attempt to aim at the timeless is admirable in itself. If anything, seeing Rogers perform is a testament of the power of music – a well-written song can be as necessary to life as water and oxygen.
Watch the video for the title track: http://youtu.be/LoSSUSH_T4o