Award-winning country music singer-songwiter Matt Rogers is heading out on tour again and making a stop at Saddle Bags in Savannah on the Fourth of July.
"We’re road dogs," said Rogers. "We play quite a bit during the busy season. For at least eight or nine months out of the year we’re gone most every weekend, so it’s been really strange sitting at the house."
Rogers grew up in in Eatonton, Georgia singing in church and playing sports. When he went to college on a partial choir scholarship, Rogers picked up guitar and began writing songs. After graduating, Rogers balanced playing in a band with his job doing brain and spine imaging at Georgia Neurological Institute in Macon. Eventually, Rogers took the leap and moved to Nashville to focus all of his energy on his music career.
"I’ve just been trying to make my way through this whole crazy business ever since," said Rogers. "Try to make your own brand of music and try to do something a little different that’s unique to you and hopefully people can relate to it and can dig it."
Rogers may have been living in Nashville since 2015, but Georgia is still at the heart of his songwriting. Songs like "I was Raised," "Peaches and Pecans," and "Tailgate Town" express a deep connection to his home state and being from Georgia is a major part of his identity as a songwriter.
"100%. That doesn’t really go away," said Rogers. "You’ve gotta know where you want to be heading, but you can’t forget about where you’re from. So much of your background and so much of your upbringing is what makes you inherently unique, so if you don’t put some of that in your songwriting then you’re missing a big opportunity to show how unique you are as a person."
One of his recent singles, "Tailgate Town," is a loving tribute to his hometown and even name-drops Janice, a fruit stand operator who used to bring fruit to his family.
"I’m very blessed to have the support of my hometown and those people there that helped form me and helped raise me, and that’s super important to me," said Rogers. "I’ve always said all I want to do is make my mama and my hometown proud."
Rogers has won several industry awards for his songwriting including awards from NSAI/CMT, Music City Songstar, American Songwriter, and Mid-Atlantic Song Contest for his song "Coal," the top award from Music City SongStar for his song, "She Was Everything" as well as a finalist slot in the USA Songwriting Competition, and a songwriting achievement award from CMT and Nashville Songwriters Association International for "I Was Raised," which also was selected as a NSAI Top 40 song. His ode to summer good times, "Burn the Boat," was named a Top Ten Country Jam by Buzzfeed.
Of all of his accolades, the best praise Rogers has received for his work was the endorsement of respected Nashville music critic Robert K. Ooermann, who gave Roger’s song, "Richest Place on Earth" the Music Row’s DisCovery Award.
"He gave it to two people and it was me and Chris Stapleton for that year," Rogers explained. "Just to be mentioned in the same sentence as that guy kind of puts some pressure on your shoulders. Specifically, he singled out that song which is definitely not my most popular song, not live, not even streaming, but it was the most important song for me. My producer, who did that record, didn’t even want me to record that song and I made it the title track. It was my story of leaving my full time job in Macon, leaving some security, leaving the kind of job and life that I had there, and moving to Nashville and going all-in, diving head first into this brand new career, this brand new world that I didn’t really know much about yet."
Rogers wrote the whole song on a drive from Marietta back to Nashville.
"It was one that was not only a proclamation to myself to keep striving to do better, to keep pushing, to keep chasing this dream, it was putting everything I was feeling into a song," said Rogers. "That was a special day for me, even as a songwriter, to be able to put what I was really feeling at the moment into song form."
Rogers loves Savannah and is looking forward to returning to Saddle Bags and playing for his fans. Performing on Independence Day should make the show particularly special.
"I like to think that every show is a little special, but I’m looking forward to bringing some tricks out," said Rogers. "I hope we’re going to have a good crowd and everyone stays safe, and we’re really going to be able to enjoy being in this great country that we’re all blessed to be a part of. I’m really looking forward to seeing folks and getting this show out because we’ll be fresh—we won’t be road tired from the road, so we’ll be able to kick the doors down from the very first note and give it everything we’ve got for a couple hours."
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