Nathan’s Rogers tribute to Stan

While he has established a respectable solo career for himself over the course of two studio albums, folk singer-songwriter Nathan Rogers has never tried to run from his family name.

Nathan’s father Stan is generally regarded as one of Canada’s best-loved folk singers, someone whose legacy has only grown since his untimely 1983 passing.

The larger-than-life catalogue of songs left behind by his father is not lost on Nathan. For the first time in his career, he is undertaking a series of shows where he will be performing his father’s music in a tour known as Nathan Sings Stan – The Rogers Legacy Continues. The Nathan Sings Stan Tour began on November 4 in Sydney, Nova Scotia and will wrap up its run of Maritime shows at George’s Roadhouse in Sackville tomorrow evening.

Speaking from his home in Manitoba, Nathan Rogers says the idea of doing shows dedicated exclusively to his father’s oeuvre has been on his mind for quite some time.

“I felt as though I have done enough to establish where I am at and who I am musically,” Rogers says. “This tour has been something that I have wanted to do for quite some time but it was something that I wanted to do properly. I didn’t want to play a series of shows only with me and a guitar. I can’t expect people to want to listen to a guy and guitar only for 90 minutes which in itself is funny because that is exactly what I do as a solo artist.

“Ultimately though, I wanted to present a show that would be authentic to the way that Stan would have done a performance with fiddle, bass and guitar.”

Although plans are currently being made to bring this same show to audiences in Western Canada, the decision to launch The Nathan Sings Stan Tour in Atlantic Canada was no mistake. Though he is quick to admit that Canadians from coast to coast love his father’s music, he jokes that the music is akin to sacred liturgy for some Atlantic Canadians.

“In my experience, Stan’s music is something that Atlantic Canadians seem to take more personally and seem to have a greater emotional attachment to than other parts of Canada. It was rather fitting to launch this tour out East.”

Despite the fact that he was only four years old at the time of his father’s passing, Nathan says that he holds very vivid memories of his father being on stage. He recalls his father being away a lot as he was growing up, yet even at such a young age, he knew that the time that he was able to spend with his father was special.

“Between the times I was two years old and four years old, I remember him being away a lot. It was such a special and poignant time whenever he was home; even when I was little I knew how special it was to be able to spend time with him.”

Asked if fans often approach him eager to share their memories and experiences of Stan with him, Nathan says it is a rather frequent occurrence. He says that he is able to find a certain comfort in listening to others speak of their memories of his father.

“People are relating stories to me about my father and that element is very special to me yet personal to them. The memories that people share about Stan the musician and Stan the public figure differ from my memories of Stan the father and Stan the husband,” Rogers shares.

Though it was somewhat common for his father and Uncle Garnet to come to fisticuffs with rowdy fans in the early days of their career, Nathan jokes that he has been fortunate to not have to leverage his 13-plus years of martial art training upon any unsuspecting hecklers any time in recent history.

“The audience that comes to my show is older so I am not anywhere close to dealing with what Stan had to deal with at some of his shows. I can hold my own if I really have to but it’s a rare thing for me to have to.

“It’s funny though, when people get into a mood that they want to cause trouble, they tend to gravitate towards the biggest guy in the room. Stan was a big man – 6 foot 3 and 240 pounds – so he was often picked on because of that alone. It just so happened that he was on stage,” Rogers laughs.

Article published in November 11, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript