Matt Rogers performs close to home this weekend
Story by Lynn Hobbs
Photos are file photos of Lakelife Magazine
Matt Rogers is returning to where he was raised for a special concert this weekend.
The Georgia Country Awards Overall Artist of the Year will bring his full band and perform at Oconee Brewing Company with special guest Maggie Renfroe, 7-10 p.m. Saturday, July 27. Rogers might just spark some ideas for a never-ending romantic getaway when he performs his newest single, “Burn the Boat.”
Since following his dream to Nashville several years ago, the Eatonton native has landed some awards and accolades, including the Grand Prize from Music City SongStar for his song, “She Was Everything”; and, the Nashville Songwriters Association International and CMT selected his song, “I Was Raised” for a songwriting achievement award and it went on to be selected as a Top 40 song.
“She Was Everything” was one of six tracks written by Rogers on his sophomore project, “The Richest Place On Earth,” according to his website. The lyrics to “I Was Raised” came to him randomly in the shower one day when he was staying in a mountain cabin and the only soap available was a bar of Ivory soap. Reaching for the bar of Ivory brought back memories of his young childhood, and he just started singing the song in the shower, according to what he told this writer/reporter several years ago for an article in The Eatonton Messenger newspaper.
Like the “Richest Place” video, his single “Here’s To Something” music video also was filmed in his hometown of Eatonton. The video captures Matt surrounded by friends celebrating life.
“It’s a fun song about enjoying life and being with friends and we wanted to be as authentic as possible. I think we did just that,” he told Top40-Charts at the time of the video’s release. “I had some of my best friends, my hometown bar and one of my great friend’s houses in the video. We just had a party and hit ‘record’.”
Rogers has opened for some of the biggest names in Country Music, including Clint Black, Clay Walker, Jake Owen, Cole Swindell, Locash, and Michael Ray.
BuzzFeed named Rogers’ newest release, “Burn The Boat,” as No. 4 on their “Top 10 Hottest Country Summer Jams” they recommended adding to your playlist. The three songs heading the list are by Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, and The Voice’s Morgan Wallen.
Rogers’ song is about saving money for a get-away to a remote beach accessible only by boat, spending the day on the beach with his girlfriend, then coming up with the idea to “burn the boat.”
For more information on Matt Rogers and to hear streams of his music, visit www.mattrogerscountry.com. To purchase tickets for the concert at Oconee Brewing Company, visit www.oconeebrewingco.com. The 3,600-sq.ft. event space is located at 202 N. West St., Greensboro, GA 30642
An article on Matt Rogers from Lakelife Magazine, Summer 2016:
Music City Marvel
Award-winning singer-songwriter from Eatonton takes hopes and dreams of becoming a country music star to Nashville
By Beverly Harvey
Photographs courtesy of Vicki Rogers and mattrogerscountry.com
I sit with a bottle of water and a notepad at the kitchen table in the home of Vicki Rogers, who I have spoken to as if we were old friends for about a half hour. We are waiting on her son, Matt, to arrive. He is stuck in snarled traffic somewhere between Nashville and Eatonton. We continue our conversation until Matt is finally able to join us.
As soon as he walks in it becomes abundantly clear to me that even when Matt Rogers enters the kitchen of his parents’ home, he has a way of commanding a room. It’s not something he does consciously or on purpose. And he isn’t arrogant about it. It’s just part of who Matt is, part of his God-given charisma – and what makes him a natural as a musician.
Even way back when Matt was 2 years old, his parents, Vicki and Danny Rogers, knew their youngest son would grow up to pursue one of two careers – as a politician or as an entertainer. “Because he’s a people-person, and he never meets a stranger,” Vicki says, “He’s larger than life. He’s always had that type of personality.”
Since age 3, Matt has been absolutely fearless when it comes to speaking or performing in front of a crowd. When a role in a one-act play at Gatewood Schools required him to perform sans pants, he didn’t flinch. When he was in elementary school, Matt started taking guitar lessons after attending a concert by the country music group Alabama. Growing up, Matt often performed at church, at school and in the community. He began writing songs in middle school, but really began to focus on his songwriting when he attended college, where he majored in biology.
The 28-year-old singer-songwriter has grown from a little boy plucking a plastic toy guitar in his family’s living room to a young man strumming his beloved Breedlove guitar on stage at The Bluebird Café in Nashville. The Bluebird Café is famous for being the place where some of the biggest names in singing and songwriting have gotten their start. Folks like Garth Brooks and Kathy Mattea.
Just like those who came before him, Matt had to audition and then receive an invitation in order to perform at the internationally known songwriters’ proving ground. “Bluebird is a bucket list venue,” says Matt, who first played there in December 2015 and returned in early May to be a participant in Writers’ Night, which he also had to audition for to be able to perform. “It makes you believe in yourself a bit more if you get invited to play there,” he says, later adding, “It’s a pretty small fraternity, I would say. You get invited by other writers.”
Matt moved from Eatonton to the Music City last summer to be at the center of the country music songwriting and performing scene. He listened to all genres of music when he was growing up and still likes a variety of music, but for his professional singing and songwriting career, he says country music best reflects who he truly is as a person. “It evolved there naturally,” Matt says of his genre selection. “I just wrote from my heart. … In this business, you can’t fake who you are. … I think that’s true in life.”
Watch any of his videos on YouTube or attend one of his live performances and you’ll know instantly that choosing country music was a wise career move on Matt’s part. He has a mellow, throaty singing voice with just a touch of twang – the perfect combination for a country music artist. Professionals in the music industry agree. Matt was named 2015 Georgia Country Awards’ Overall Artist of the Year. In 2014, he was a GCA finalist for Male Artist of the Year and Music Video of the Year for his original song “I Was Raised.”
Since Matt moved to Nashville, he has met a number of country music stars, including Darius Rucker, T.G. Shepherd and Irlene Mandrell. He keeps busy doing everything he possibly can as a singer and a songwriter. Matt sings backup and plays guitar as a studio artist. He sings demo songs for other writers. He collaborates on a regular basis with a group of songwriters and has written or helped write almost 140 songs in less than a year. Matt maintains a jam-packed performance schedule, playing more than 150 shows in 2015.
No matter where his career takes him, Matt makes a point to return to his hometown of Eatonton and the surrounding areas to perform in concerts, festivals and fundraisers. He will be the first to tell you that growing up in a small town made him the man – and the artist – he is today. His childhood directly influences his songwriting, including his original, award-winning song, “I Was Raised.” It’s extremely important to Matt to give back to his hometown. “My champions, my supporters, who have been with me from the get-go, that’s who I’m there for,” he says of his return performances in Georgia’s Lake Country.
As for his musical future, Matt was heading back into the studio in early May with plans to release a new single and possibly a full-length album this year. When we spoke in late April, he was speaking with several national country music artists about hitting the road with them as an opening or supporting act. For now, he plans to keep catching those lucky musical breaks his hard work keeps bringing him. Without a doubt, Matt would like to continue to grow as an artist and a writer. But most of all, he wants this to be the year he signs with a record label. “I feel like I’m in a good place right now, where I really am ready for the next step,” Matt says. “As long as I can afford to do this as a living – that’s the goal.”