Album review: LEE ROGERS – Gameblood

LEE ROGERS - Gameblood

Zenith Café/Membran [Release date 13.05.22]

This is Carrickfergus based Lee Rogers long awaited second album (his debut album, ‘Clocks’, was released way back in 2006). Produced by Gareth Dunlop (who also plays guitar, piano, synth and percussion on the album), it features the musical talents of Paddy Lavin (drums), Simon Francis (bass), Colm McClean (guitar, pedal steel) and Rogers himself on guitar.

Rogers describes ‘Gameblood’ as “a visit to those hard places that most people put to the back of their psyche and build a wall around. It’s music for the travelled soul, those folk who have seen a lot of life and can relate to the sentiments of the songs.”

As for the album’s title, Rogers states that “my dad was as hard as the road he walked on but had the softest heart for us and my mother, who he loved unconditionally. He had a fighting spirit, and that’s what I believe ‘Gameblood’ means and is where the album title comes from.”

Now what of the music? It is an intoxicating mix of Americana, folk & blues, all with a touch of pop in the songs melodies. ‘Haunted’ for instance has that instant pop appeal, coupled with a thoughtful lyric. It is those thoughtful and personal lyrics that linger on ling after you have finished listening to the album. ‘Life and Lies’ and ‘Everytime’ have been released as singles, both gel after one listen but offer up more on each subsequent listen like any good music/album should.

‘Won’t Find Me’ is one of those songs to lose yourself completely in and highlights the album’s inviting sound. You can hear the gentle swish of percussion, marvel at the soothing vocals of Rogers or just enjoy it as a piece of music without over analysing it! Speaking of sound and production, ‘Barefoot in the Basement’ is a perfect piece of ear candy. Foy Vance guests on this one, where his vocals complement Rogers well.

Here’s hoping that a) Lee Rogers doesn’t leave it so long between albums next time and b) ‘Gameblood’ gets the wider hearing and recognition it so rightly deserves. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

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