So much of the music that comes out of our little corner of
North Carolina fits into one particular genre or another. There are bluegrass and old-time string
purists who see their individual styles as worlds apart, even if the rest of the world finds them
very similar. We have jazz musicians, hard rock aficianodos, show music specialists and others who
fit into strictly defined styles.
Then we have Rog and Glenn.
High Country musicians Roger Brandon and Glenn Hubbard have been making original music for decades in a style that blends rock, pop, jazz, jam-band, techno and ’80s-era new wave.
“Even our friends and musical colleagues aren’t quite sure what to make of this stuff,” Hubbard said.
“This music even surprises us when it comes out, so no wonder it takes others a while to get their heads around it,” Brandon said.
The musical duo began writing and recording music together as students at Watauga High School in the 1980s. Over the past few years, Brandon and Hubbard, who go by the stage name, “Rog & Glenn,” have been spending serious time in the recording studio and have recently released their second album of 2013, “Martians.”
A truly electric and eclectic collection of tunes, “Martians” is filled new wave-style songs that are at once quirky, yet catchy. “Mr. Greene” is reminiscent of jam-band superstars Umphrey’s McGee, while “No More Star Warz” is a funky diatribe on how filmmaker George Lucas went to the well a few too many times.
All through the album, a nice blend of tight songwriting craft and loose playing prevails.
“We’ve been fascinated with the rules of improv,” Hubbard said. “The idea that actors working opposite one another are supposed to accept all offers and build on them, rather than say, ‘No, let’s try something else.’
“The result is a lot of crazy, incomplete ideas, from which we pick our favorites to refine using more traditional songwriting, arranging and record-production techniques.”
Multi-instrumentalist Hubbard leaned on the musical improvisation skills he picked up as a young musician playing with his father, jazz musician Bill Hubbard. The elder Hubbard led several big bands in Miami in the 1950s and in North Carolina in the 1980s.
“I think more of my jazz influence shows up on this album than on the last one,” Hubbard said. “But, then again, I’m the worst person in the world at analyzing my own music.”
Despite the musical complexity of the tunes on “Martians,” a quirky, unique sense of humor permeates a lot of the songs.
“We’ve been compared with They Might Be Giants, Frank Zappa and Steely Dan, with more than a little hint of Pink Floyd mixed in,” Hubbard said, “which is great, because we love those artists.”
Added Brandon, “There’s also a significant jam-band influence, although we avoided long jams on this album, trying to keep it song-oriented.”
“Martians,” by Rog & Glenn, was released earlier this month and is available on CD Baby, iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud and many other platforms.
For more information, visit http://www.rogglenn.com.