Friday, July 9, 2010
I first encountered Nicki back in the late 90s when her band (Shine) supported my band (Audacity) at the Spring Harvest conference (almost certainly) in Skegness, England. I can't help but throw that in as a piece of one-upmanship!! Shine was a pop/dance all-girl band, and after meeting and interviewing them for UCB Radio several times I was left with more than a sneaking feeling that there was much more musicially to Nicki than what she was doing at the time.
Nicki describes herself on her Facebook page - among other things - as someone who is unhinged, laughs and is red, and she is right. Add to that accident prone and "not afraid to poke fun at herself" and you have a pretty good picture of the artist. I mean, anyone who calls their second album "Feeder Lane", which is a reference to Nicki's penchant for driving...erm..."difficulties", is okay with me.
The thing about Nicki, to excuse my use of cliche, is that what you see really is what you get. She has one of those quintessentially English voices, and the way she writes reinforces that. A song such as "Good Lord" from her debut record 'Colour Scheme' is a good example. I think I once described her as a British Sheryl Crow, and by that I mean not just musical references, but the kind of instrumentation used. Just listen to "Something of a Miracle" from Nicki's second album 'Feeder Lane' and you'll see what I mean.
Nicki is an accomplished piano player and pretty useful on the guitar - which of course has a name! Her choice of collaborating producers and musicians has always been very sensible, and the likes of Andy Harsant, Dan Wheeler and Graeme Duffin helping to develop the sound, but never in a direction that takes away from the music.
I also like the fact that Nicki has devoted a lot of time to touring on behalf of charities such as Toybox. You get the impression that she is never going to consider herself "too big" to do anything, and actually on those more intimate tours she always seems to be totally at home and is able to charm an audience within seconds, usually with some story of clumsiness or something related to that!
A few years back I was part of a gig with the wonderful Carl McGregor and friends, and got the opportunity to play as part of Nicki's backup band. I can't remember what song it was - although the guitar was there - but I do recall thinking how lucky I was to be doing this. You'd think I'd remember it better, but there you go.
Anyway, ALL of which to say that yes, Nicki Rogers really is a British national treasure, as I once said in an album review. She'll never agree with that, and it's a measure of her God-centered nature that it's not an issue for her, but I would say if you get a chance to hear any of her 3 albums, especially the latest one "Once In A While", they'd be well worth a listen.
Nicki Rogers: hilarity is never far away!!