Skylar Rogers – Among the Insanity | Album Review

Skylar Rogers – Among The Insanity

Blue Heart Records

12 tracks – 49 minutes

Skylar Rogers grew up in the tough neighborhoods in Chicago where she suffered through many hard times including a divorce, life in the military, the death of a child, truck driving and homelessness. After a near fatal bout of pneumonia and a diagnosis that she had several autoimmune diseases, she declared she would live her life to the fullest and under her own terms. A second marriage and a move to Memphis turned her life around. In the liner notes, she thanks her husband Mark and says, “You have somehow lived with my insanity for years, and yet you still love me in spite of it.” The album is said to be written from a deeply personal space and the statement certainly leads to the album title.

Music and faith had always been her salvation during the dark times. The move to Memphis allowed her to further immerse herself in the rich vocal heritage of the area and encouraged her to begin a journey in the music scene of the area. She describes her music as “soul-rockin’ blues” and says “Music survives the worst and celebrates the best”.

On this, her third album and second on Blue Heart Records, she teamed with Terry Wilson to produce the album and co-wrote eleven of the twelve songs on the album with him. The twelfth was written solely by Terry. Terry and his wife, Teresa James, provide backing vocals on the album and Terry also plays bass. The band members include W.G. Walden Smith and Billy Watts on guitar, Bennet Salvay on keyboards, Brannen Temple on drums & percussion, and Darrell Leonard on horns.

Skylar’s whiskey-soaked voice opens the album with a declaration of feminine power on “Love in the Left Lane” and advises that she likes “tattoos and high heels” and states you must “buckle up baby, this is my road”. The title song examines the hurt that occurred from a broken relationship and offers some sharp guitar work emphasizing the underlying pain. On “One Last Kiss”, Skylar offers a softly delivered poem asking, “Why did it have to end this way?” 

She advises that she is a “storm coming on the driving rain” and “as bad as it gets” on a swamp drenched “Ride That Lightning”.  On “Blame It On Rock & Roll”, she delivers a spirited declaration that questions “How did I get here?” and examines past bad decisions. Bennett’s piano drives “When It’s Broken” as she looks back at a failed romance and remembrances of “all those crying nights”.

“Step It Up” offers a honky-tonk beat as she tells her lover “…you better have a good place to live” and “hoping that you can pass my test” to be my man. She tells “Both Sides of The Tale” as “something is always behind the vale” and reminds to listen to the full story before reaching a conclusion. Darrell Leonard’s trumpet provides a jazzy tone on the soft “Between Friends” as she examines a complex love triangle where she is caught in the middle and pleads for everyone to remain as friends.

Next Skylar “is going to turn back time” and states that “don’t tell me what to do” in a declaration of her re-discovered “Femininity”.  She “felt the world crashing in on me” until she “went to her happy place” down at “The Water” where she could “feel the sand between her toes” in a bouncy, joyful song that “washes my troubles away.” The album closes with the quiet ballad “Apology Not Accepted” as she rejects being minimized and stands up for herself.

The album is certainly very emotional and certainly reflective of her past issues. But it is likely that many of the expressed sentiments have likely occurred in everyone’s life at some time and are easily understood.

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