Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Look Back at 2013

As 2013 comes to a close The Rogues would like to say thank you to everyone for their continued support and for sharing our musical journey with us.  We wanted to share some of the highlights from this year.

The band returned to its musical roots and enjoyed public performances in Texas, Louisiana, Maryland, Connecticut and Florida.  

Randy designed a tartan for the band in December 2012 that is listed in the Scottish Register of Tartans as The Rogues - United States.  It became available for purchase in January of 2013 and over 20 kilts have been ordered.  Anyone wanting one or information on the tartan can e-mail us at therogues@sbcglobal.net.

We were also able to host two fundraisers this year as well as make a substantial contribution to the Air Force Aid Society.  

Our first fundraiser was held at McGonigel's Mucky Duck in Houston, TX in June and was to raise money for the tornado victims in Moore, OK.  Having performed in Oklahoma many times, and since Randy and Bryan have lived there in the past, we were more than happy to help out.  Performances were by The Jig is Up, another popular Houston band, and The Rogues.  We were able to raise $1097 in 3 hours due to the generosity of our Houston Rogues family, and special thanks goes out to Ros Shepherd for organizing the auction and being the awesome person she is, Cherry, and Missy and Harold Best for helping out as they always do.  

The second fundraiser was for our dear friends, Ingrid, Klaus and Chela, the owners of Medieval Moccasins.  Ingrid was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the summer so we immediately planned our fundraiser for October 19th when we would be at the Maryland Renaissance Festival to help with her fight, but unfortunately she passed away only 2 months after diagnosis, so our fundraiser was to help with the medical expenses the family incurred.  We were able to raise almost $6000 at the event and over $10,000 online.  We'd like to thank Mike Rosman the Squire on the WireVolgemutDragonSong, Tinsmith, EJ Jones and The Drum Runners for performing.  Mike Rosman did an awesome job emceeing the event and thank you to everyone who volunteered their time, and especially Stacy Lute and Cherry for their organization skills.  

We added two new venues in 2013 - The Connecticut Renaissance Festival Fall Show and the Sarasota Medieval Festival.  Both were great events and we hope to be back next year for more weekends.  It was wonderful to be able to perform again at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, and also the Annapolis Irish Festival for the second year in a row.  Our friends Dublin 5 do a great job of putting on the Irish Festival.  That's a huge amount of work and we greatly appreciate it.  
We also performed for a Marine Corps retirement ceremony for Jeff Dubinok at the National Museum of the Marine Corps Semper Fidelis Memorial Chapel near Quantico.  It was a beautiful chapel and the reception at the restaurant down the street was amazing.  Thanks to Trish for asking us to perform.  
Ewan and Randy also attended our friends Steve and Karen Francis' party for Steve's retirement from the Army.  Congratulations and thanks to Jeff and Steve for their service, and extra thanks to Steve for all the great photos he takes of the band.

The band added some new faces to the roster in 2013.  Pipers include Kyle Grasty from Pennsylvania and Jamie Everett from Florida.  A new drummer that performed with us at the Connecticut Renaissance Festival, Andrew Meade, from Austin, TX.  Playing a bodhran the way Bryan and I do (LOUD) is not easy, but Andrew was a great addition on that show.  We still have Jimmy, Lars, Bryan, Ewan, Doug Frobese, David Goodman and myself, so no worries there.  

The Christmas album, Hellbound Sleigh, is a project that we always said we SHOULD do, but just never did.  Randy was always wary of a Christmas album because he didn't want it just to sound like Christmas tunes played by bagpipes.  He wanted something more along the lines of a Mannheim Steamroller Christmas album, with unique arrangements and instrumentation, where each track is something different, and we think we achieved that.  The feedback on the album has been nothing but positive, from professionals and the public.  Thanks to Lars, Doug, Kyle, Ewan, EJ, Bryan and Miriam-Rose for their contributions, and thanks to Andy Bradley and Les Lentz, the recording engineers in Houston and Maryland respectively.  And much thanks to Todd Shearer for the awesome original cover art and album design.  People always want to know where the name of the album came from.  It's a derivative from the name of the first tune on the album - Hellbound Train -  a wonderful tune by Mark Saul.  Cherry and Randy were visiting friends Steve and Pam Brownlee in Louisiana and jokingly discussing album names, when Cherry threw out Hellbound Sleigh.  Randy loved it and that's what stuck.

The band wrapped up the year with the Dickens on the Strand festival in Galveston, TX in December, a wonderful Dickens era festival that the band has performed at for many years.  
As we go into the off-season we wish everyone a happy new year and hope to see you in the near future.  Slainté!

Dickens on the Strand Write-Up

The Rogues were again fortunate to play at this years Dickens on the Strand festival on December 7-8 in Galveston, TX.  This has been a standing gig for the band almost every year since we started.  The line-up consisted of Randy, Jimmy and Doug Frobese.  Bryan had to cancel at the last minute to take care of all the animals on the ranch due to the ice storm that hit northeast Texas that weekend.  It was definitely cold, so attendance was down, but we had a great weekend despite the weather.  The highlight that weekend was the release of the Hellbound Sleigh Christmas album.  Knowing the attendance would be down, we only had Cherry on sales, and we did as well as the year before with 3 sellers and beautiful weather.

As usual, our home base for the weekend was Murphy's Pub on 22nd between Strand and Mechanic streets.  The second highlight of the weekend was their pizza, which we consumed en mass.  The pub has rebuilt the sidewalk in front of the pub and built a cover that extends to the street, allowing for outside tables and covered performance in case of rain.  Fortunately, rain was not an issue, holding off until the festival ended on Sunday.  The rooms provided by the festival were wonderful and greatly appreciated.  

It's always great seeing our Texas friends at Dickens on the Strand and we definitely hope to be there again next year.  
Keep watching the website for our upcoming shows.  Currently the next show is at the Firelake Grand Casino from 7:00-10:00 in Shawnee, OK for St. Patrick's Day.  Looking forward to seeing our Oklahoma friends there.   

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hellbound Sleigh Now Shipping

If you pre-ordered Hellbound Sleigh your CD is in the mail and on its way to you! We packaged up 180 CDs today and off to the post office they went. Please let us know what you think once you've had a chance to listen to it!

If you are still thinking about picking up a copy please note that December 18th is the last day you can order and guarantee a before Christmas delivery. Click here to order.