Stephen Peter Rodgers
Songwriter. Artist. Lover of life.
Stephen Peter Rodgers , is an American singer/songwriter, producer and visual artist. His music career spans 4 decades starting when he was in his early teens as a founding member of underground AltRock band “Mighty Purple”, with whom he toured extensively for 20 years. Stephen’s solo albums are filled with honest, lyrics, lush guitar hooks and a widely diverse Acoustic, folk ,Indie rock sound. Stephen continues to bring his music to listening venues, festivals and house concerts and is currently working on his 5th solo album. Stephen is the former owner/director of Space Ballroom in Connecticut which hosted musicians of all ages and all genres during his 15 year tenure there. Stephen’s music and visual art has been featured in countless print and online publications. His music has been played on radio stations all over North America and can be found on all online platforms. Stephen typically tours as an acoustic duo or trio, his shows are engaging, lively and Stephen instantly builds a warm friendly rapport with every audience.
Stephen Peter Rodgers — Rodgers has been one of Connecticut music’s biggest supporters and a member of its fraternity since his days fronting alt-rock act Mighty Purple in the 1990s and early 2000s, and as former owner of The Space Ballroom / The Outer Space in Hamden. He returns with his newest solo album "Speck On A Clover" , one that sees the New Haven singer-songwriter combine his alt-rock roots with a distinct indie-folk perspective, creating something wholly unique in the process - Connecticut Magazine
Connecticut’s Stephen Peter Rodgers recently released his new album, Speck On a Clover. It reminds me of artists like The War on Drugs or Future Islands.” The third and final single from the album is its opening track, “Back Into The Muddy River.” Mixing vintage organs and lush strings with Rodgers’ folk/rock songwriting creates a sound that is equal parts sexy smooth jazz and heartland rock. Rodgers said “the lyrics dive into themes of human mortality, the after life and a higher consciousness on this ride we call life on planet Earth.” - Surviving The Golden Age
Level-headed perspective and unflappable affirmations glide in effortless epitaphs and sensible aphorisms while Rodgers unlocks smart hearts with cautious pop-rock optimism and folksy stoic motivators; well-tended scenarios whose sensitive cleverness yield common sense served with disarming charm. Wise advice dispensed in catchy choruses lecturing from precipices, “Clover,” hones tender empathy through various tuneful ruses, playing observer, participant, mentor and friend - Maximum Ink
Speck on a Clover is, perhaps, the most diverse release in Stephen’s expansive catalogue, with no two songs bearing much resemblance to one another. What also struck me is the maturity and depth of the lyrics. In his 20s with Mighty Purple, Rodgers’ lyrics were brimming with philosophies entrenched in the experiences of youth. Speck, however, is grounded in raw grit and wisdom drawn from the perspective of a man with decades of life under his belt. - Rock Mommy
Stephen Peter Rodgers
The driving drums give way to a big hook from a guitar, the kind you get to write after you’ve already written a million songs. - New Haven Independent
CT music scene icon Stephen Peter Rodgers is releasing a new album on Unfinished Hearts Records. Stephen is best known as the former founder & owner of the legendary venues The Space / Space Ballroom in Hamden CT which he operated for 15 years. Additionally Stephen was the frontman and co/songwriter for 90s-2000s indie rock band Mighty Purple. The band garnered critical acclaim and national success through 10 years of constant touring in support of the 7 albums they released. In 2020 Stephen had to change his public name from Steve Rodgers to “Stephen Peter Rodgers”, due mostly to a variety of internet search conflicts and confusion with another musician also named Steve Rodgers.
Stephen, a lifelong songwriter, spent most of the pandemic hunkered down in his recording studio (Tiny Bunker Studio) writing songs, recording & restoring vintage keyboards and guitars. Stephen challenged himself to write and record one song per week for a year. Ultimately he ended up with 40 songs. Twelve of the songs will be included on the upcoming album “Speck On A Clover”. The album title is a reference to the 1954 Dr Seuss book “Horton Hears a Who”. The children’s book tells the story of Horton the elephant and his adventures trying to save Whoville, a tiny planet, located on a speck of dust. “A person is a person, no matter how small” is the most popular line from the book. The line resonates with Stephen and in some ways is parallel to Stephen’s journey, spanning 15 years as independent music venue entrepreneur transitioning into a full time songwriter and visual artist. After nearly 2 decades of championing & promoting local, regional and national bands of all genres, Stephen is now focused on his own music and art career. “ I Unknowingly all but nearly lost my own creative spirit, in the venue business & process of giving others a platform in which to share their talent & music” says Rodgers. He continues on to say “If I could, there would be very few things I would change about the story of The Space, it was an amazing experience until forces beyond my control began to undermine my vision & mission there.” Space Ballroom still exists under different ownership and a different business model.
The Album’s title track “Speck On A Clover” is a piano driven, electro indie rock song with impassioned lyrics hinting at the singer’s personal battles and triumphs. “No clouds here anymore, so sing it out , like a bird on a wire, searching for a speck on a clover” sings Rodgers. The album is much different than Stephen’s 2019 release on Horizon Music Group “Count It All Joy” (an acoustic album with hints of bluegrass and strong Americana roots produced by CT music legend Vic Steffens). This is the first album Stephen has produced for himself.
Stephen noted “Following one of the darkest and most disappointing seasons in my life, I needed to prove to myself that I could record on my own. I have lived my life as somewhat of a luddite and finally decided to learn how to use modern recording technology. The whole experience has been freeing and has inspired me to create music in ways I never imagined”
Songs, such as the first single from the album, “Real Life” harken back to the sonic history of the early Mighty Purple catalogue. Guitars with a shoe gaze flair, vintage Rhodes keyboards and spot on driving drums (played by David Keith) lay the bed for lyrics about our human condition & the longing for living in peace with ourselves and with each other. Other songs on the album such as “Wish I Didn’t Sway” are self-reflective and lonely, still anchored to the indie-americana mooring from Stephen’s prior release. Dark southern gothic organ sounds form the underlayment for Rodgers husky voice as he sings “It’s not what we drink but it’s why we drink it, It’s the thoughts that we sow and the actions which reap it”. There are two solo acoustic songs on the album, which stay true to Rodgers roots, The Song ``What I Am”, a fast paced autobiographical anthem with unapologetic lyrics and an Irish twinge
Highly seasoned musicians who round out the songs on the album include, Seth Adam - bass guitar, David Keith (Blackmores Night)- Drums, Ben Dean (ex Caravan of Thieves)- Violin & Fred Dileone (ex Step-kids) on vintage synth & key bass. Stephen played Keyboards & Guitars as well as much of the bass and some drums on the album. This is the first album Stephen has made with almost no appearances by his brother and longtime Mighty Purple co/collaborator Jonny Rodgers (Cindertalk). However Jonny did mix & master the title track “Speck On A Clover”. Much of the album was mixed and mastered by Sam Carlson at San Serif Studio in New Haven. The song “Back Into The Muddy River” was mixed by “Tim Walsh ex Step Kids” and the song “Self Talk” was mixed by Northampton, MA, producer Nate Christy. Stephen says “ I wanted to have others mix these songs because I was too close to them and wanted fresh ears with an unbiased perspective”. The album cover art is a black and white painting by renowned artist Tyler Morris, who painted it live during Stephens 2019 album release show.
This new album, musically, has all the fixings to stand tall among the dense forest of modern indie music. Each track is unique yet, each threads to the next, to make the album a cohesive unit. Something waits inside for listeners of all bents and backgrounds. There is no industry pigeon hole to dump the album into. The influences are broad and the message is deeper than the shallow wading pool which the modern music business has grown all too comfortable in.
Rodgers says “Whether or not thousands of people hear this album and whether or not it becomes a ‘profitable product’, I needed to get this music off my chest, if for nothing else than to heal from some past wounds and disappointments”