It is with great sadness
that Blind Pig Records announces the passing of singer Robin
Rogers at the age of 55. She died at her home December 17
in Gastonia, North Carolina, where she was being cared for by her
husband and musical partner, Tony.
In August the talented singer and
harmonica player was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. Like
most musicians Robin and Tony were without health insurance and depended
on touring for their income. For years Robin was always ready to donate
her time and performances to a good cause. so it was not surprising that
there was an immediate outpouring of love and support from the blues
community and her many fans. Benefits and fundraisers were held
around the country to raise money for medical bills and living expenses.
Rogers was deeply moved by the support, and was also buoyed by the
success and critical acclaim for her new CD, Back In The Fire,
which debuted at #3 on the Billboard Blues sales chart, where it remains
in the top ten.
Blind Pig owner Jerry Del Giudice said,
"Robin always struck me as someone who felt she didn't have a moment to
spare. She was constantly in motion. I became aware that her
artistry and her integrity were two things she would not compromise and
how genuinely she cared about others in need. She was diagnosed
with terminal cancer shortly before the release of Back In The Fire.
She told me that although she didn't want to carry this burden, it was
hers to carry and she would do the very best she could with every moment
she had left.
I read a Russian proverb sometime ago that goes something like this:
When you are born you cry while everyone around you laughs. If you
lead a good life, when you die you laugh while everyone around you
cries. I'm sure she's having a well deserved laugh. As we cry we
have to remember what a wonderful laugh that was and how sorely it will
Rogers, winner of the 2009 "Best Female Artist" Blues Blast Award,
was announced just this week as a nominee for a Blues Music Award for
"Contemporary Blues Female Artist" by the Blues Foundation. And just
last weekend Robin was featured on National Public Radio's "Weekend
Edition Saturday," where she told host Scott Simon that despite battling
cancer and the effects of chemotherapy, she felt "blessed."
Music has been Robin Rogers' consuming passion ever since her days as
a teenaged street singer. Possessing a deeply expressive and soulful
voice and an infectious enthusiasm for the blues, Robin and her band
have developed a devoted and growing following. Her Blind Pig debut,
“Treat Me Right”, fulfills the promise of her previous two releases,
revealing an accomplished artist of rare polish and originality.
the late sixties when America's youth was "rediscovering the Blues,"
Robin Rogers was "living the Blues." As a runaway teen trying to escape
a troubled home, she made her way to cities like Richmond, Virginia; Ann
Arbor, Michigan; Atlanta, Georgia; and Coconut Grove, Florida. Robin
lived the hippie lifestyle of the times, even sharing residence in a
commune in Love Valley, North Carolina for one summer, sometimes
sleeping in parks, under picnic tables and in abandoned cars. After
serving time as a juvenile in reform school for truancy and being out of
parental control, she was released at age 15 to begin life on her own.
It was a hard life for a young girl, and it wasn't long until Robin was
addicted to drugs and alcohol and, thank goodness, to singing!
She eventually learned to play guitar and began accompanying herself.
Robin performed on the streets, at parties and coffee houses for food
and tips, setting the stage for the emergence of an independent,
strong-willed spirit and charismatic singer. After hearing the applause
of strangers, she knew she was hooked! Her goal was to make a living
performing music, and this she has done for over 30 years. Moving to
South Florida in 1979 to record for the Sal Soul Label, a subsidiary of
RCA, Robin recorded at the well-known Miami Sound Studios and lived in
Ft. Lauderdale for the next ten years performing on a full-time basis.
As fate would have it, Robin became drug and alcohol free in 1989 and
began to turn her life around. She moved to North Carolina in 1990,
performing in the Southeast area for the next ten years, recording,
writing and enjoying music clean and sober for the first time in many
Robin got involved with the Charlotte Blues Society in the mid-nineties.
Shortly after that, she met and married fellow musician and Blues lover,
Tony Rogers. They performed as an acoustic duo, with Tony playing
guitar/dobro and Robin on harmonica and percussion. It wasn't too long
before she was heard by producer/musician, Jim Brock and was asked to do
a CD which was released in 2001 entitled "Time For Myself," a
contemporary Blues record which contains six originals penned by Robin
They put together a band in support of that release and went on to win
the 2003 Charlotte Blues Society's Blues Challenge, winning the right to
represent Charlotte, North Carolina in Memphis, Tennessee in January
2004. They competed against 98 acts from all over the world in the
International Blues Challenge, sponsored by the Blues Foundation. After
three nights of tough competition, Robin Rogers and Her Hot Band emerged
as one of only nine finalists in the 2004 International Blues Challenge,
which was judged by the industry heavyweights including Bruce Iglauer of
Alligator Records and Blues recording artist Kenny Neal.
Robin signed with Blind Pig in 2008, and her debut release for the
label, “Treat Me Right”, was issued in June of that year. It’s a
showcase for Robin’s stylistic variety and passionate vocal intensity,
from the rolling R&B title track to the jazzy “Nobody Stays” to the
soulful groove of “Nobody’s Gonna Hurt You.” It also features perhaps
Robin’s most powerful composition, "Color-Blind Angel", a moving account
of the life and death of white civil rights worker Viola Liuzzo, who was
assassinated by the KKK in 1965. "Color-Blind Angel" won second place in
the blues category of the 2007 International Songwriters Competition.
Blind Pig Records is truly proud to welcome Robin to its roster.