From enlisting Willie Nelson and Ray Wylie Hubbard to perform on the rowdiest tracks to playing hot dog rack percussion and staring at the sun under the direction of producer Jay Joyce, Randy Rogers and his cohorts clearly courted trouble while making their eighth album.
And “Trouble” is exactly what the Texas country rockers got.
“I think we've always wanted to make this record, a country record that changes the game, like Nirvana did with ... ‘Nevermind.' We're trying to not necessarily outdo the last record because obviously that's always the goal, but we're trying to make the record that just makes the biggest statement ever,” Rogers said by phone from the road in Lexington, Ky.
“And I feel like with Jay, that's possible. Because no longer are you confined by ‘oh, let's make this record so that we get country radio airplay' and ‘let's make this record so we can get on tour with somebody' or ‘make this record so we can sell a million copies' or whatever.”
While “Trouble” is due out on MCA Nashville on Tuesday, the Texas five-piece — vocalist/guitarist Rogers, guitarist Geoffrey Hill, fiddler Brady Black, drummer Les Lawless and bassist Jon Richardson — is due to headline the 22nd Annual Calf Fry Friday night at the Tumbleweed Dance Hall. It's the fourth straight year for the band to play the Stillwater festival.
“What a party. We love that party,” Rogers said. “I feel like Calf Fry is one of the staples on the scene as far as getting to play; it is an honor. And it seems like everybody there is just so excited that Calf Fry's back. It just seems like it's bigger than the bands that play.”
The singer-songwriter isn't afraid to sample the Rocky Mountain oysters, and he and his bandmates proved while making “Trouble” they aren't scared to expand their sonic palate. The band teamed for the first time with Joyce, who has produced albums for a wide range of artists, from Eric Church and Little Big Town to Cage the Elephant and The Whigs.
“Jay's always got a smirk on his face, like he's got something up his sleeve. And it's probably because he's thinking of about 10 things at once. I don't even know if I should tell this story, but Jay likes to sun-gaze: wake up in the mornings and look into the sun. That's how he gets his energy,” Rogers said wryly. “Yeah, we all tried it, of course; we're all believers.”
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