Kris Rodgers & The Dirty Gems’ New LP Is A Shining Success

Courtesy: Wicked Cool Records

Wicked Cool Records has quietly become one of the leading names in the independent music community in the past year or so.  New releases on the label from acts, such as Soraia, Jessie Wagner, and Marc Ribler have served well to support that statement.  The release of Kris Rodgers and the Dirty Gems’ seventh album, Still Dirty, Friday solidifies that statement even more.  The band’s debut record with Wicked Cool Records, it is easily a record that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.  That is due in no small part to its musical arrangements.  They will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical themes play their own part to the album’s appeal and will be discussed a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here plays its own important part to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Still Dirty one more of this year’s top new independent albums.

Kris Rodgers and the Dirty Gems’ forthcoming seventh album (and debut for Wicked Cool Records) is a surprisingly impressive offering from the veteran independent collective.  That is due in no small part to its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question are diverse.  That is putting it lightly.  From beginning to end of the approximately 34-minute presentation, audiences get such a wide range of sounds and styles from one to the next and even within themselves.  There is a lot of neo-classic rock sensibility throughout, beginning right from the album’s outset in ‘She Likes to Party.’  The slide and talk box in this song pairs with the use of what sounds like a Hammond B-3 organ and Rodgers’ vocal delivery to really liken the song to works from the group’s label mate, Kurt Baker while also clearly taking influence from the likes of The Dobie Brothers and The Allman Brothers Band.  By contrast, ‘Across The Galaxy,’ features a vocal performance by Rodgers that immediately lends itself to comparison to that of Alter Bridge front man Myles Kennedy.  That against the string arrangement in this contemplative song, makes for a unique presentation in itself here.   That pairing conjures thoughts of Barry Manilow’s timeless classic ‘Mandy’ (wild, huh?) while the use of the guitars, bass and drums alongside those elements also gives the song more of that neo-classic rock sensibility already established through the record’s first half.  The contrast in that dichotomy makes this song interesting in its own right.  On yet another note, the funky approach to ‘Don’t Turn Around,’ throws back to the soul and R&B sounds of Motown.  Again, the organ plays a big part in that comparison.  The use of the choral style vocals against that organ line and the ‘My Girl’-esque bass line and horns enhances the song even more while still ensuring the song boasts its own identity.  The whole is a presentation that is yet another unique addition to the album’s overall musical body.  When it is considered along with the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s arrangements, the whole makes clear why the record’s musical diversity is so important to the album’s presentation.  It is just one part of what makes the album engaging and entertaining.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements makes for its own appeal.

The lyrical content that is featured in Still Dirty is important to address because on one level it follows one central theme – relationships – for the most part.  On another level, the way in which that central theme is addressed makes it fully accessible.  Audiences get songs of love found in songs, such as ‘She Likes To Party,’ ‘I’m Your Man’ and ‘Don’t Turn Around’ while ‘See You Again,’ and ‘Can’t Give It’ tale pm the relationship topic on the opposite end of that spectrum.    Getting off topic a bit, the piano and strings in ‘See You Again’ pairs (once again) with Rodgers’ vocal delivery in this case to not only sound like Kennedy, but also Elton John.  Interestingly enough, Rodgers and company do take on an Elton John classic in ‘Take Me To The Pilot.’  That song is yet another of the works featured in this record that takes on the so common theme of relationships.  For all of the talk of relationships that dominates this record, it is not the album’s only theme.  ‘Across The Galaxy’ is a deeply moving existential contemplation in which the song’s subject seems to contemplate his purpose in life.  That in itself is a familiar theme across the musical universe.  Because of that and how it is delivered, it proves just as accessible as the album’s other songs.  ‘I Can Still Feel It’ is another existential type work.  In this case though, the song’s subject is looking back while also looking forward, celebrating what has been and what is to come.  The horns, organ and guitar pair with the vocals here (again, getting somewhat off topic) to make this song very similar to another even far more popular classic work.  Audiences will be left to discover that similarity for themselves.  On yet another note, ‘Tortuga,’ the album’s penultimate entry, is just a fun, random party type composition both musically and lyrically.  It is another break from the more common theme of relationships that permeates the album.  Between this song and the others examined here, the overall accessibility of Still Dirty’s lyrical content becomes clearer, as does the importance of that accessibility.  When all of this is considered along with the album’s musical content, the whole makes the album that much more enjoyable.  The collective content featured in Still Dirty is only part of what makes the album successful.  The sequencing thereof brings everything together and completes the album’s presentation.

Still Dirty’s sequencing is important in part because it ensures the album’s content avoids any redundancy throughout its 10-song presentation.  The musical styles and sounds change subtly from one song to the next, just enough to show the differences but still keep a certain feel throughout.  The lyrical themes are, again, mostly the same throughout, but the way in which they are handled is just right.  It ensures that even this aspect of the said element changes just enough throughout.  On yet another hand, the sequencing also takes the album’s energy into account.  For the most part, the album’s energy remains relatively high and up-beat.  ‘Across The Galaxy,’ the album’s midpoint, serves as a good breakpoint for the album as it noticeably pulls the album’s energy back.  Next to ‘See You Again,’ the album’s finale, it is the album’s only other reserved song.  This song might have been better served by being moved up slightly by one or two tracks, but that is a moot point at this rate.  Either way, it and ‘Across The Galaxy’ ensure collectively, the album’s energy does its own part to keep listeners engaged and entertained in the record.  Keeping this overall importance of the album’s sequencing in mind along with the importance of the album’s content, the whole makes Still Dirty a great presentation and one more of this year’s best new independent albums.

Kris Rodgers and the Dirty Gems’ new forthcoming album Still Dirty is a surprisingly enjoyable offering.  It is a presentation that will appeal easily just as much to the act’s established audiences as to newer listeners.  That is due in part to its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question blend influences of classic and modern rock for some of its content.  At other points, there is also some R&B and soul influence.  At others still, there is a sort of pop influence infused into the music.  That diversity offers plenty for audiences to appreciate in itself.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements adds to the album’s appeal.  That is because of its overall accessibility both in its themes and how those themes are presented.  The sequencing of that collective content brings everything together, ensuring even more, audiences’ engagement and entertainment.  That is because it changes things up just enough from one song to the next from beginning to end.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this album.  All things considered, they make Still Dirty a success for Rodgers and company and for their new label home.  Still Dirty is scheduled for release Friday through Wicked Cool Records.

More information on Kris Rodgers and the Dirty Gems’ new single and album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:




To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.