Category: Press

The Staircase Theatre Goes Out Singing
Kate Rogers Band
Across the Pond and Back

the-hamilton-spectator-logoSaturday marks the end of an era in this town with the closing of The Staircase Theatre and Cafe. But the folks a thte little venue that could are going to be celebrating it in pretty much the same way they have every other night during the past few years – with top-notch live entertainment. The Staircase has always been the round hole for the square pegs of this world, providing shelter to artists who really didn’t fit well into other places. Unfortunately, it became too much of a weight for the proprietors of The Staircase to bear. So, after hosting more than 3,000 events in their funky little place on Dendurn North, Kathy Garneau and Hugh MacLeod are calling it quits to spend more time with their two young children. The final night’s entertainment was booked before they decided to close the building, so it’s a pretty good representation of the kind of talent The Staircase has been drawing over the years. Up front in The Staircase Cafe there’s Kate Rogers, a singer-songwriter who’s better known in England – where she has earned rave reviews in The Times of London and NME magazine – than in her native Ontario. Originally from a farm near Barrie, Rogers went to England a few years ago to help her cousin start up a new music label called Grand Central Records in Manchester. She had received classical voice training during her school years growing up in Kettleby and she was quickly put to work singing lead vocals for an urban dance group called Aim. The group had a minor English his with a song called ‘Sail’, selling some 150,000 copies – a feat that would register platinum in Canada. Rogers toured up adn down Britain with Aim but still considered Ontario her home, commuting back and forth, keeping an apartment in Toronto and crashing with friends in Manchester during her English stays. She went home and wrote a pile of songs with her Canadian partner Matthew Bannister, a guitarist and keyboard player she met while attending the University of British Columbia. They found some like-minded musicians and recorded in Toronto’s Chemical Sound studios, then took the tracks back to Manchester for mixing.

Graham Rockingham – The Hamilton Spectator

Kate Rogers – St. Eustacia – By Michael Edwards

exclaim-logoConsidering what has gone before in Kate Roger’s life, it might not be immediately obvious what musical pathway she has decided to follow. Born on a farm outside Toronto, she attended the Royal Conservatory of Music for seven years before abandoning her classical training and embracing a huge number of other influences. The list is so diverse it includes bluegrass, reggae and hip-hop, yet she also spent time following around the likes of the Grateful Dead and Phish on tour. Her recording career began with providing vocals for Grand Central artists Rae & Christian and Aim, yet her debut album might come as a bit of a surprise. It is hard to write about St. Eustacia without mentioning Beth Orton or Dido because those are the easiest comparisons, yet Rogers very much has her own identity thanks to strength in both her voice and her songwriting. Considering this is a Grand Central release, St. Eustacia is remarkably laid-back and beat-free. From the majesty of the wonderful “Mighty” to the acoustic sparseness and beauty of “Joan,” Rogers has a real knack for writing songs that pull in the listener and that is true for the entire album. This is a very impressive debut that demonstrates that Rogers is no longer just a guest vocalist. (Grand Central)

Sunday Times ‘The 20 hottest acts around’

the-times-logoHaving lent vocal lustre to albums by Aim & Rae & Christian, the Canadian singer Kate Rogers steps up to the plate this month with a small gem of a solo album, ‘St. Eustacia’ (released by Grand Central). A deft lyrical touch – “lately, I’ve been looking forward to meeting the rest of you” – is but one of her gifts; above all, though, is Rogers’ wonderful voice that moves the album from the ‘mildly diverting” pile to the one marked “slow-burning but ultimately outstanding”. Flecked with blues, roots, jazz and country, her songwriting too, shows why it is high time she moves out of the shadows. ‘St. Eustacia is one of those records that will soundtrack events that are memories in the making, could we but know it.’

Country Girl Kate Has Her Feet On The Ground

manchester-evening-newsGrowing up on a country farm near Toronto, Kate Rogers often found herself twiddling her thumbs. She turned to music and art as a way to entertain herself (“I had on brother, but back then he was just into fighting,” laughs Kate, “so I used to retreat to my room to sing and draw.”) and eventually took lessons in classical singing in her early teens. “I started singing from the moment I could open my mouth, I always mimicked people,” she recalls. Who, CityLife enquires. “Oh, God,” she laughs, “I can’t admit that! Well, when I was six or seven, we had these big speakers and I used to put Abba on and lie on top of the speakers and just soak it in. I probably did terrible damage to myself.” Raised on John Denver and north American folk music, Kate discovered rock in her early teens and took up guitar. She dabbled with teh fashion industry as a career but was talked back into music by her cousin, Mark Rae, who set up Manchester record label Grand Central. “I used to follow bands around and I made clothes and jewelery on the road just to make money. “There was a lot of time in music where I felt I was jumping into a big hole and I didn’t know where it was gonna go. But now, after working and touring in different countries, it feels good to have that goal and I’m not under any illusions about what’s possible for me – there’s no dream of superstardom.” Kate’s back in Manchester with her band to play Dpercussion, a festival she’s regularly attended as a spectator. “There’s a lot of nurturing between Canada and the UK in terms of what’s going on in music. Every time I’ve played here, they’ve been so welcoming. Britain is looked at musically as a very special place.”

‘Q’ Kate Rogers St. Eustacia Grand Central Records

q-the-musicRaised on an isolated farm in Canada, Kate Rogers probably isn’t used to crowded places. But boasting affecting, folkish-tinged vocals, ‘St. Eustacia’ parachutes her right among the Dido’s and Beth Ortons of this world. Fortunately, thanks to her emotional range, she still manages to shine. ‘Not Ten Years Ago’ casts her as a wronged avenger, while the spacey guitars of ‘Odyssey’ reveal a more fragile side. With shifting instrumentation – from simple pianos to Arabian-infected beats – reflecting her changing moods, the likes of the rousing title track suggests she won’t simply be fading into the crowd.

Kate Rogers – St Eustacia – Music Week

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Kate Rogers St. Eustacia (Grand Central)
Rogers’ pure, clear vocals have graced tracks by Aim and Rae & Christian, but her true calling is a fine singer-songwriter in the classic style. On numerous tracks here, her sophisticated folk-influenced pop explores emotional landscapes with controlled power, and little concession to fashion. MUSIC WEEK

Talent Watch – Kate Rogers Band

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Canada is the new hot place at the moment, and I don’t mean because of the weather. It seems to be producing a plethora of quality artists. Oh Susanna, Kathleen Edwards, the Be Good Tanyas, Vanessa Carlton, the list goes on….Canadian singer/songwriter Kate Rogers used to be the vocalist with Aim and her vocals were heard on dance duo Rae & Christian’s ‘Not Just Anybody’. However, she’s now emerging as a solo artist: ‘I’ve found my roots,” she told me last week after her impressive showcase at the tiny Arts Cafe in Aldgate. Kate was doing unplugged versions of tracks from her forthcoming album St Eustacia. ‘Not Ten Years Ago’ shows the warmth in her voice and her considerable talent as a songwriter. She’s like a younger Nathalie Merchant. ‘The Apology’ is the kind of song Dido would write if she wasn’t permanently stuck in coffee table mode and ‘Nothing Appeals To Me Here’ is an extraordinarily atmospheric, gothic folk opus. Kate’s influenced by the likes of the aforementioned Be Good Tanyas, Gillian Welch and Nina Simone. She has that depth of emotion that Beth Orton possesses and songs that rival the best of Kristin Hersh. She’s only done a handful of gigs as a solo artist but already is a mesmerising performer. Full band shows are promised for next year.

Kate Rogers – St. Eustacia (Grand Central) 4/5 stars

the-times-logoCombing folk roots with a CV in electronica (as the singer with Rae & Christian), Rogers is the Canadian answer to Dido. The opening track ‘Welcome’ could be straight off ‘No Angel’. But as her debut album unfolds, Rogers finds her own gracefully poised voice. The piano and guitar arrangements are simple yet often stunningly beautiful, especially on ‘Mighty’ and the title track.

 
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