Local musicians come together to form yacht rock band

Published 10:57 am Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The Yachtfather, the opening band for the 2019 July Jamz Summer Concert Series, has performed several times in Andalusia, but only for Christmas events.

Scott Rogers said that this will be the first time that the band will play in a non-Christmas setting.

“The guys that first started this band are Mark Rudd, who plays bass guitar, Richard Butts, who plays drums, and myself,” Rogers said. “We all work at PowerSouth together. So, we would play at the company Christmas party all of the time. One year, Chrissie [Duffy] came up to us and asked if we could play Christmas music at Candyland. So, we asked Travis Day, the worship leader at Andalusia Full Gospel Tabernacle to play keyboards for us. All we have ever played is Christmas music, but I promised them that one day I would get us a gig that wasn’t for Christmas. We have always been a sort of theme band. We are either a Christmas band or a yacht rock band, but we pitched the idea to Chrissie and she loved it.”

Yacht rock, originally known as the West Coast Sound or adult-oriented rock, is a broad music style and aesthetic identified with soft rock. It was one of the commercially successful genres of its era, existing between the mid-1970s and early 1980s. Drawing on sources such as smooth soul, smooth jazz, R&B funk, and disco, common stylistic traits include high-quality production, clean vocals, and a focus on light, catchy melodies. Its name, coined in 2005 by the makers of the online video series Yacht Rock, was derived from its association with the popular Southern Californian leisure activity of sailing.

“I didn’t even know this genre of music was called yacht rock until about a year ago,” Rogers said. “Now I’ve noticed that SiriusXM has a channel called Yacht Rock. It’s the type of music that if people didn’t really grow up in it, then they don’t really admit that they dig it, but when it comes on, everybody lights up. It’s definitely a guilty pleasure type genre of music.”

The entire band consists of only local musicians including Rudd on the bass guitar, Butts on the drums, Tripp Bass on the keyboard, Rogers on the acoustic guitar and Johnny Brewer and Sierra Newman on the horns.

The band has spent the past month in rehearsal for the upcoming show.

“It has been a lot of rehearsal,” Rogers said. “We actually had a shakeup early on, where Travis [Day] had a conflict and said he wouldn’t be able to make the gig. So, I had to find Tripp [Bass] give him the music and say, ‘Dude, we just lost our keyboard player. Here’s the music. You have less than a week.’ We started rehearsing in June for about twice a week. Mostly at 7 p.m., during the week and then Sundays at 2 p.m. It has been a challenge for sure.”

Rogers said that he was a late bloomer to the music scene.

“I was an athlete all throughout high school,” Rogers said. “I didn’t actively play out in public or gig until I was 18 years old. In this area, most people know me or recognize me as the football player. Then in my college years is really when I started digging into music. It has become something that I really enjoy. Next year will be Phillip [McClung] and I’s 20th year doing Issues. That band is really the home base where I learned the trade. Being an electrical engineer, I get to really live the best of both worlds where I can enjoy the performing aspect of music, but I can nerd out on the sound portion and fix what’s going on with the technology.”

July Jamz was something that Rogers was a part of early on.

“When I first heard about July Jamz, I absolutely loved the idea,” Rogers said. “There really isn’t an outlet in the area for local musicians to express their talent. Beyond church and private events, there isn’t an event where people of all ages can come and have a good listening to live music. I mean, I can’t tell my mom or my kids to come to see me play at a wedding or private event. So, this gives them the opportunity to come. July Jamz is a place for local musicians to get exposure and it is a wonderful thing.”

The main thing that Rogers is excited for is to show the community the genre of music that is, yacht rock.

“I am really looking forward to playing this style of music,” Rogers said. “I know people are going to wonder, ‘What in the world is yacht rock?’ or, “What does The Yachtfather mean?’ but once they realize the genre of music, a lot of people are going to really enjoy it. We are a big band, I mean, we have six or seven pieces with a horn section. So, it will be a refreshing night compared to what people normally hear around here.”

Gates will open this Thursday at Springdale, at 5:30 p.m., with the Foam Frenzy beginning at 7 p.m.

The Yachtfather will perform selections such as “Easy,” by the Commodores, “TAKIN’ IT TO THE STREETS,” by the Doobie Brothers and “Thunder Island,” by Jay Ferguson.