Last Saturday we went to hear Nathan Rogers sing at the West End Cultural Centre. He was doing a tribute concert to his father, Stan Rogers, who was a great Canadian folk singer in the 1970s and early 1980s. Nathan sang many of the songs his father made famous like Northwest Passage, Blue Nose and Barrett’s Privateers. The songs tell stories about Canada’s history and way of life. The show was very entertaining and the music and musicians were great. I knew that Nathan Rogers’ father had died but I didn’t know how till I got home and did some research.
Nathan Rogers was born in 1979 and in 1983 when he was just four years old his father was killed in an airline accident as he was traveling from a music festival in Texas to a concert in Toronto. His plane made an emergency landing and while passengers were escaping the smoky cabin, a fire suddenly erupted and Stan Rogers was one of 23 passengers who were still on board and died. This left his wife Ariel alone to raise their son.
In an interview with CBC Nathan said he didn’t really get to know his Dad very well because he was always on the road performing. When his Dad was home he was a gentle, patient person who went grocery shopping and did chores around the house. His father really struggled to balance his personal life and his career. This is something Nathan struggles with too since he is also a touring musician and has a wife and young daughter in Winnipeg.
The most moving part of the evening for me was when Nathan Rogers sang a song of his father’s called Dark Eyed Molly. The lyrics of the opening verse are………
Deep and dark are my true love’s eyes,
Blacker still is the winter’s turning,
As the sadness of parting proves;
And brighter now is the lantern burning,
That lightens my path to love.
Nathan Rogers said he was dedicating the song to his wife Amber who worked sixty hours a week as a teacher to support their family which made it possible for him to go on the road and tour and make the music he loves. He said his wife was responsible for every good and decent part of who he had become. He also talked about how hard it was to leave his beautiful little daughter Bella- Sophia whenever he went on the road. His tribute to his wife and daughter had me all teared up I have to tell you.
The concert last Saturday was great and I’ve bought a couple Stan Rogers songs on I-Tunes as a result. But it was the Rogers’ family story that was the most memorable and really tugged at my heart-strings.
Other posts about concerts………….