It’s old folklore in my family that my dad taught Jonny & Steve Rodgers how to play the guitar. Legend has it that Rob Hames, in all of his 1989 mullet-haired glory, lived on the same road as two bright-eyed brothers in Hamden, CT and introduced them to the music world. They quickly started Mighty Purple, the band that is famous to all early-90’s grunge New Haven college kids. As my dad would say, he may have helped them a bit in the start, but the Rodgers brothers ran off and exceeded any expectation he may have had of them. My mom and dad met in Hamden shortly thereafter, and Mighty Purple’s first album, Revolution, was released in 1991, the year I was born. I had all of the words to their third album, Black River Falls (1995), memorized by age 5. We went out to see Mighty Purple a few times when I was incredibly young, and I remember being mesmerized by their ethereal, grunge/folk sound. The first time Steve Rodgers heard The Promise is Hope, he told Eric that he plays the electric just like Jonny did. It’s safe to say Mighty Purple made a big impact on my early psyche.
My first gigs were in Hamden at Steve’s local all-ages venue and first passion project, The Space. I was 13, playing angsty, clunky love songs on a borrowed Yamaha keyboard. I somehow got put on a bill with Katie Herzig and Matthew Perryman Jones. I’m sure they were glad to play for my 10 family members and high school boyfriend, but I’m guessing they don’t remember that little show now that their songs are featured on Grey’s Anatomy and Parenthood once a month. C’est la vie…
Eric and my first duo show was a house concert in 2013 in a lovely blue triple-decker apartment in Worcester. Jonny asked if he could come up during his East Coast tour, and we were thrilled to play with him that night for new friends & family here in Massachusetts. These days, we try to schedule a visit to Steve’s new 21+ venue/craft beer bar, The Outer Space, each time we’re touring through Connecticut.
The circle of life is funny and strange. We laugh about these stories every time we see each other, and I’m always reminded how perfectly orchestrated life can seem at times. Jonny & Steve Rodgers may have been impacted by my dad in the beginning of their careers. I can’t necessarily speak for them in making that claim. I can speak for myself, however, in saying that these two brothers have been hugely impactful in my life. Not only have they shown me, from an incredibly early age, the importance, significance and do-ability of independent music, but they’ve been there for some of the most important moments of my personal journey.
Jonny is now writing, performing and touring as the solo act, Cindertalk. His album Everything All At Once (2013 Epitonic) prominently features tuned wine glasses, guitars and electronics with loops used in unexpected and captivating ways. It is one of my favorite albums. I can’t find a song on it that doesn’t thrill me. His music is spiritually and musically fulfilling. It’s simple and complex all at once. Seeing Jonny perform is one of the most captivating experiences I’ve had in life.
In yet another loop of our great circle together, we will be performing with Cindertalk & Steve Rodgers’s new project, Arms & Voices, on March 11th at The Outer Space in Hamden, CT. [More info here]. The following night, Jonny will be returning to Worcester to perform with The Promise is Hope and Joy Rachelle at Nine Dot Gallery, a fine arts gallery that is aiming to encourage a growth of culture in the center of our city. This gallery is yet another example of the great people of this world encouraging local art. It is indirectly inspired by people just like Steve & Jonny Rodgers. People who take risks and throw themselves completely into creating a better, more beautiful world.
Please join us on March 12th in welcoming my great friend Jonny Rodgers to Worcester. The event will take place at Nine Dot Gallery (763 Main Street, Worcester, MA) at 6:30pm. We encourage a $10+ donation, which will go directly to supporting these great musicians and beautiful gallery. To find out more, click here to be directed to the Facebook event page.
To hear more from Cindertalk, visit www.cindertalk.com.
This post is part of our “Better Together” series, which celebrates the independent music community with blog posts about indie artists & venues with whom we are proud to partner. Read more here, and stay tuned for future posts about the beautiful people we meet on the road. Click here to read more posts in the “Better Together” series.