Roger Len Smith
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Roger Len Smith

Austin, Texas, United States

Austin, Texas, United States
Rock Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"My Best Friend A Gem"

“(My Best Friend) is a gem that deserves attention. Roger Len Smith is an artist of great talent as he displays with his new release . . . this excellent debut album has definite crossover appeal.”
--NEW MUSIC WEEKLY, Los Angeles, CA, August, 2001
- New Music Weekly

"Picks of the Week"

Austin's Roger Len Smith makes his fourth professional trip back to the Valley Isle to launch his fifth album, Clear Blue Skies—the discs arrived just this past Friday, a mere day before he embarked for Maui. Joining Smith for his series of CD release party gigs are local musicians and long-time friends, newly billed as The Maui Wowies. In an interview with Maui Time, Smith calls the ensemble "a power trio with special guests," including Jack Funn (an impossibly tall bassist who is the first of Smith's Texan cronies to join him in Hawaii), along with Maui guys (and girl) Mike Pearl and Pete Atkins (alternating on drums, depending on the evening), Abe Vanderberg (super sax man), Dave Anthony (a weekends-only slide guitarist), and Eliza Bostwick (harmonic backup vocals). "Music is a magical language. It's a universal language, but it's a magical connection," says Smith. Catch some of that magic starting Thursday at Diamonds Ice Bar & Grill (9pm), then Friday at Stopwatch (9pm). Saturday, Smith heads West to Longhi's (10pm) for Halloween partying, then Sunday sees a double booking with a performance at the a benefit broadcast for Mana'o Radio at Casanova's (2-5pm), then a Grateful Dead-inspired jam night at Charley's Restaurant & Saloon (9:30pm)., - Maui Time

"Roger Len Smith And Life’s Journey"

There are millions of people around this earth who are far more qualified to comment about the current music scene than I ever will be. But, I yield to not a single person the right to comment on those things which I like, and I like the music of Roger Len Smith.

There are a lot of us, who, as kids, wrote a few songs, played musical instruments, or sang, but in such a way that guaranteed us a future of musical oblivion. Even among those of us who are more musically inclined, there are many who can sing, but not play an instrument. There are others, of course, who can play an instrument, but cannot sing a single note. Others still, who can both play an instrument and sing, just not at the same time. Some can write lyrics, but not the tunes. For others, words come hard, but the music flows. Some musicians can perform alone, while others need to be backed up with a host of other musicians to be successful. It is rare when someone can do it all, and even more rare if it is done well.

Roger Len Smith, seemingly, is one of those musicians who can do it all. In an analogy to the corporate world in which I’m most familiar, Roger is the “go to” person who can do it all when it needs to be done, and can do it successfully. Roger writes his own songs, can play all the instruments, has a great voice, and can either perform alone or humbly share the limelight with others. In addition, he is positive, energetic, and entertaining.

I first heard Roger’s music “live” last month when I attended a small but important benefit concert to collect holiday toys for needy children. His appearance at that event was very characteristic of him, as he seems to be extremely committed to doing whatever he can to help others. His musical resume is long with appearances at events which serve the common good. This social consciousness, along with his musical talents, are impressive, to say the very least.

Last night, in the small community of Point Venture, on the north shore of Lake Travis, Roger and his band, additionally comprised of the extremely talented Jay Ewell (on bass) and Jimmy Spencer (on drums), had a release party for their new CD, Clear Blue Skies. In front of large crowd in the community’s “Venture Room,” Roger and his mates played a wonderful set of songs. Much of the music, of course, was from the new CD, including, “Clear Blue Skies,” “Batten Down The Hatches,” “Amanda Always Told Me I’d Shine,” “Don’t Want To Be Alone Right Now,” and “Rhode Island Girl,” which was written for his wife, who is originally from the state of Rhode Island. Popular songs from his previous four CD’s were performed as well.

Smith grew up in the diverse and inclusive Hyde Park neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio, attended Miami University in the Ohio college town of Oxford, spent many years in California, and finally ended up in the “Live Music Capital of the World,” Austin, Texas. As a historian, I believe that the importance of life is about the journey, and what we learn and contribute along the way. And, while I don’t know Roger Len Smith personally, I do believe that the sharing of his musical gifts, his life as told through his often “true story” lyrics, the music he has composed, and the commitment to causes which he believes in, demonstrates that he too believes that things learned and contributions given along life’s journey are what are most important. It is fortunate for those of us who appreciate extraordinary musical talent and great music, that part of Roger Len Smith’s life journey is currently weaving its way through the hill country of Texas. - Texas Hill Country Blogspot

"Willie Nelson's Tour Bus: An Inside Look"

As we reported to you Friday, Nashville writer, singer and bon vivant Marshall Chapman spent four days on Willie Nelson's tour bus two years ago as she gathered material for her book They Came To Nashville. As we flipped the pages, we couldn't wait to find out what kind of wild drug orgies take place on the nation's highways and byways once Willie sets his wheels in motion.

Sadly, it's not as wild as you think. In fact, it's not wild at all. As Willie recently remarked on Imus In The Morning, busting his bus was like busting an old folks' home. Willie's sister Bobbie is nearly 80 and has a pacemaker, the Red Headed Stranger is 77 and his drivers are in their late 50s.

Chapman describes being on the bus with Willie, who has just completed a Memphis concert in August 2008 and was waiting around to sing one song with the Dave Matthews Band. Willie and others are passing his guitar Trigger around, amusing themselves with music while they wait.

In her four days onboard the bus with Willie, Bobbie and Lana Nelson, plus a small rotating cast of guests, this is all Chapman has to say about Willie, the bus and ganja.

A part of me wishes I could smoke weed just to be sociable, but weed was never my thing. The few times I've smoked it, I ended up paranoid, locking myself in my room with a bag of tortilla chips, or driving 20 miles an hour on the interstate, thinking I'm speeding.

While we're certain there's more weed smoking than Chapman chooses to report, the scene on the bus is pretty bucolic. Willie usually sits at a small table either reading, emailing or listening to music.

The talk mostly seems to be about family and friends or Willie's countless projects. Willie drinks a little wine occasionally, he and Bobbie play jazz standards for fun. Chapman even has a song on her new album about Willie and Bobbie and the music they made during the trip from Memphis to Beaumont called "Riding With Willie."

Marshall Chapman, "Riding With Willie's"

It doesn't mention any dope smoking either.

Chapman's description of traveling with Willie just adds to our disgust with the Border Patrol for boarding Willie's bus and busting him. Low-hanging fruit, for sure, but absolutely no threat to anyone.

Meanwhile, as anyone who's seen No Country For Old Men knows, the truly evil criminal element continues to operate with virtual impunity. Somebody in command needs to get their priorities straight.

Austin musician Roger Len Smith came up with this little ditty that just about says it all.

Roger Len Smith, "Bio Willie Diesel (Leave Willie Alone)"

Marshall Chapman plays McGonigel's Mucky Duck Feb. 17. Hudspeth County court calendar permitting, Willie Nelson & Family play Verizon Wireless Theater Feb. 4.

"Roger Len Smith Delivers Again"

“New Dark Ages is Smith’s best yet. Smith’s ability to balance humor and angst, cogent analysis and populist slogans, gravity and fun has only sharpened over the years, and his melodies grow more engaging with every disc. These times may be New Dark Ages, but Smith’s talent finds light in the darkness.”
--HIGH BIAS, June, 2007
- High Bias Magazine

"WordSmith For The Ages"

“It’s no surprise Roger Len Smith is making waves with his fourth album, New Dark Ages. Smith isn’t afraid of tackling issues larger than the traditional love and loss beat so common to jam-band singer/songwriters. Instead, Smith, whose sound is evocative of Tom Petty, delves headlong into the political and philosophical issues of the day without sounding heavy-handed.”
- Santa Barbara Independent

"CD REVIEW - Roger Len Smith, My Best Friend"

“Roger Len Smith's My Best Friend is one of those albums that refuses to be penned in by genre or style. Smith, who works with some of L.A.'s best songwriters as a bassist and guitarist, has recorded an album that can generally be classified as roots-rock, but such a term sets a limitation that fails to describe the width and scope of this fine record, which contains a spectrum of musical sounds from quiet alt-country ballads to loud hardcore funk. This is a subtle, smooth, spirit-lifting rock album that runs the gamut from quiet and thoughtful pieces to full-force, in-your-face blasters. Like Alejandro Escovedo so often does, Smith gets well beneath the surface lyrically in probing the complexities of humankind and the conundrums of daily existence and our relationships with each other. My Best Friend is Everyman's rock music.”
--William Michael Smith, ROCKZILLA.ORG, September, 2001


Still working on that hot first release.



A staple in the Austin music scene, singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist, Roger Len Smith has released five CDs full of engaging and witty songs. Brimming with strong melodies, probing lyrics, creative musical progressions and dynamic arrangements played by an array of great musicians, Smith is known for powerful live performances and compelling songwriting.

From the vibrant roots-rock/alt-country mix of Smith's ebullient fifth album, CLEAR BLUE SKIES, to his more folk-oriented debut record, NATIONAL BOULEVARD, Roger Len Smith has created a dense and dynamic caldron of songs that has entertained many folks around the U.S. and across Europe. Always keen to provide a variety of sounds and styles on each album, Smith is firmly entrenched in the modern rock/singer-songwriter genre, as his songs are effective both in acoustic settings and with full band arrangements. The occasional dip into country and alt-country, as well as funky-rock numbers, provide more variety but always cemented by Smith's rock-n-roll approach. Great musical friends Rami Jaffee (Wallflowers), Kim Deschamps, Victor Bisetti (Los Lobos), Mike Morgan, Phil Cody, Steve McCormick and many others have contributed mightily to Smith's recordings.

Often compared to Tom Petty, Warren Zevon, the Wallflowers or Steve Forbert, Smith has worked with a great plethora of talented musicians over the years. While based in the Los Angeles-area for fifteen years, Smith worked on many albums and tours by friends and collaborators such as Phil Cody, Shawn Amos, Mark Seliger, Five Easy Pieces, Jennifer Stills, Garrison Starr and many others. In 2004, Smith relocated to the live music capitol of the world, Austin, TX, to focus on his own music. He has since become a fixture on the Austin scene, performing regularly at such musical staples as the Saxon Pub, County Line, Salt Lick BBQ, The Pier/Gnarly Gar, the Austin Int'l Airport and many other spots, both as a solo artist and with his band.

For Smith's fifth CD, CLEAR BLUE SKIES, he partnered with slide and steel guitar wizard Kim Deschamps (Charlie Robison, Cory Morrow, Cowboy Junkies). The legendary Peter Rowan sings on three songs on this CD and many other fine musicians have appeared on Smith's various albums including Jennifer Stills, Victor Bisetti, Rami Jaffee, Pat Manske (Flatlanders), Warren Hood, Shawn Amos, Eric Heywood (Son Volt, Ray Lamontagne), Astrid Young, Shannon McNally, Joey Peters (Grant Lee Buffalo) and plenty more.

In 2007, Smith released the 16-track NEW DARK AGES—a dynamic and topical musical stew about the timely subjects of the first decade of the 21st Century, including human rights, corporate greed, wars and terrorism, drug policy, and love, just to balance things. The humorous and true “Bio Willie Diesel (Leave Willie Alone)” generated radio airplay around the country while the intense jam-rocker, “Holding Onto My Guitar For Dear Life” (with beautiful, haunting harmony vocals by Jennifer Stills), was featured on Relix Magazine’s Spring 2007 sampler.

A seasoned and high-energy performer, Roger Len Smith has toured the U.S. and Europe many times with his band, Phil Cody's band and others, opening and/or touring with Little Feat, Todd Rundgren, Los Lonely Boys, Warren Zevon, Cory Morrow, Tracy Chapman, Steve Earle, Bob Schneider, Bob Geldof, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Barenaked Ladies, Linda Perry, Carla Olson, The Violent Femmes, John Hammond, Arthur Brown, Patrice Pike and others.

The RLS Band features fellow Austin musicians Dawn Maracle on bass and Jimmy Spencer on drums, with many friends sitting in--Michael Milligan, Dick Ross, Tyler Hart, Bo Davis, Mark Hackett, Jay Ewell and many others.