Roy Rogers

Split Decision

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Roy Rogers returns to the Sierra Nevada Big Room Monday, April 13, 7:30 p.m.

Slide guitarist Roy Rogers has been described as playing riffs that “could peel a crawfish.” Pretty nice (and accurate) compliment for the Redding-born musician who’s made a name for himself not only for his great slide playing, but also for his singing and songwriting, and for producing albums for music icons John Lee Hooker and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. Rogers’ band, The Delta Rhythm Kings, joins him on his latest album, Split Decision, an eclectic collection of original tunes. Special guests appear as well. The disc opens with the rockin’ “Calm Before the Storm,” featuring Rogers’ insistent, furious slide guitar. “Patron Saint of Pain”—a laid-back shuffle—contains some of the best blues lyrics ever, including: “Time to shore up your defenses/ Put a dead-bolt on your dreams … You better heed my warning/ The suit’s not what it seems.” German New Age guitarist Ottmar Liebert joins Rogers on the lovely instrumental “Your Sweet Embrace.” Jazz keyboardist Philip Aaberg adds soulful organ to “Holy Ghost Moan” (also with great lyrics!) and jazz-raga fusion sax man George Brooks brings his refreshingly inventive touch to the instrumental “Rite of Passage.”