Skylar Rogers first album “Firebreather” burns with musical passion

Chicago soul-blues singer Skylar Rogers, a powerful and passionate vocalist, is a relative newcomer to the national blues stage, having released a debut EP in 2018, began touring in 2019, and just released her first full-length album, “Firebreather” (Jan. 29, 2021). But it was worth the wait.

Rogers cites influences such as Tina Turner, Koko Taylor, Billy Joel, Whitney Houston, B.B. King, and Michael Jackson, and it’s not hard to hear some of those echoes as she moves through a variety of original material, but her voice and style are definitely her own.

She calls her style, “soul rockin’ blues,” and she does all of those — there’s guitar-driven blues-rock (“Like Father Like Daughter”), bluesy soul (“Thankful”), and soulful blues (“Failure”).

But it doesn’t really matter how you label Rogers’ music. The truth rests easily in the results. Her vocals flow effortlessly from tough (“Hard Headed Woman”) to tender (“Failure” and “Drowning”).

She displays the passion and intensity of someone who is comfortable in the world of her lyrics, and comfortable with her ability to share her emotional commitment to that world.

Drummer Bradley Arl co-wrote with Rogers the gospel-flavored “Movin’ On,” and the piano-fueled “Drowning,” and to her musical credit, Rogers produced this potent initial outing, a self-released album.

This debut effort gives all the signs of a talent that is just getting started. It would be easy to say that she can only go up from here, but that wouldn’t be exactly right. She is already “up,” with continued success almost guaranteed at this level.

Rogers’ sharp and crisp band, The Blue Diamonds, is Stephen J Hill: guitar; Marty Gibson: guitar; Jerry Ewing: bass; Bradley Arl: drums. Arl co-wrote the gospel-flavored “Movin’ On,” and the lovely, piano-fueled “Drowning.”

Together, they surround her vocals with the sound of rock, blues and soul. They have a great combination going, Keep it that way.

Here’s a video of “Like Father Like Daughter” (Please check the updates below this video)

1. Hard Headed Woman
2. Back To Memphis
3. Work
4. Like Father Like Daughter
5. Failure
6. Firebreather
7. Movin’ On
8. Drowning
9. Thankful
10. Insecurities

Libation Note:
This review was partially fueled with the smooth, sensuous and seriously enjoyable well-aged Brugal 1888 rum, but is essentially inspired by the passionate music of “Firebreather.”

Blues Roadhouse update:
My previous review of Selwyn Birchwood’s excellent latest album, “Living In A Burning House,” needs to be updated, as Alligator Records has released a two-part video interview of Birchwood and his producer Tom Hambridge by Alligator honcho Bruce Iglauer. (Note to Bruce: My life would have been easier if this was just one video. Not significantly changed, mind you, but slightly easier.)

So here they are (I’ll also attach them to the original review):

Interview, Part 1

Interview, Part 2

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