Peter Rogan- Still Tryin’ To Believe review

Peter Rogan
Still Tryin’ To Believe
Melt Shop Records/

Pennsylvania steel mill worker and burgeoning Americana-roots performer Peter Rogan has released a splendid little disc with the support of well-placed friends including Phil Madeira and Will Kimbrough.

Each of Still Tryin’ To Believe’s eleven songs is distinctive, and yet they are bound with an appealing tactile, workbench quality. Well-recorded and arranged, these songs are natural products of experience and challenge, a full-bodied blend of folk, rock, country, and jazz influences.

As was Della Mae’s most recent EP, this album was cut at Nashville’s Butcher Shoppe, and Rogan took full advantage to its proximity to stellar talent, enlisting the aforementioned Madeira—with whom he has been writing for a few years—and Kimbrough as well as the rhythm section of Chris Donohue (bass) and Dennis Holt (drums).

“The Start of Something Easy” and “Beautiful Honey” have the feel of songs Three Dog Night may have recorded a lifetime ago, timeless slices of quality capturing relationship vignettes in rhyme. Written over the last six years, these songs haven’t been rushed and as such are fully realized in lyric and form.

Two auto-focused songs, “Big Green Rambler” a bluesy jam, “Kickin’ the Can” a life-lesson ramble, are additional highlights. “River Man” has a gentle, unhurried atmosphere that belies its inevitable conclusion.

“Rolling Mill Blues” and “Mercy,” like most of Rogan’s songs, carry messages open to interpretation, artfully worded. The breezy “The Only One” may be the album’s most appealing song, a yearning duet with Allison Dietz.

An album for those appreciating guitar, there is no shortage of fine and sometimes showy licks from Madeira, Kimbrough, and Rogan.

Introspective and still free-wheeling, Peter Rogan and his songs provide almost an hour of enjoyment, an experience that can be revisited simply by touching the play button.

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