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Austin's Randy Rogers Band finds the no-frills formula for success

Randy Rogers describes his Austin, Texas band as a "what you see is what you get" kind of crew.

"I think that we're probably a little bit more edgy than your typical Top 40 country act. There's just kinda no bullshit to this band," he says. "It's not always pretty. It's not always perfect, but we're real. I don't think we spend our time trying to create some image. We just go out there and get it done."

Which is what the Randy Rogers Band has been doing since it started 10 years ago. The current lineup — Rogers on lead vocal and guitar, Brady Black on fiddle, Les Lawless on drums, Jon Richardson on bass and Geoffrey Hill on guitar — has been together since 2003.

Since then, the group has toured an average of 200 days a year. Add to that the time they spend recording, and it's easy to see why there's not much left over for working on an image. In fact, they just finished up their fifth studio recording, as yet untitled, in December.

"You know, we can write 50 songs for a record and we can't name a record," says Rogers. "I don't know what the problem is."

Rogers hopes to hear a new single on the radio soon, and to get the album into stores before summer. Even though they worked with a new producer (Grammy award-winning Paul Worley, who's known for his work with acts such as Big & Rich and the Dixie Chicks), fans shouldn't expect a ton of changes.

"There wasn't a whole lot different," says Rogers. "It was still us. It was still us in the studio. It was still us writing the songs."

Something about the process is working. They're coming off a 2008 self-titled Mercury Records album that debuted in the Billboard country Top 10 and is the most-downloaded country album on iTunes. That album helped earn the band an Academy of Country Music award nomination for vocal group of the year. Maybe most tantalizing, it was selected Best Country Album of the Year by Playboy magazine.

"That was something that we didn't even know we were gonna get nominated for," Rogers says. "We sure as hell didn't think we were gonna win. I'd like to say that we got to go to the mansion to go party, but with touring, we didn't get to California in time to make it out."

Perhaps they're getting noticed because they write about 90 percent of their songs themselves. (Rogers' writing skills have also been picked up by other artists such as Kenny Chesney.) Or maybe it's because Rogers says the group stays as traditionally based as it can — which makes sense for five guys who play Merle Haggard on the bus every night before going out on stage, and take pride in owning "probably every Willie Nelson record out there."

"I try to write songs about country stuff, like love, and gettin' broken up with and drinkin' too much. You know, just kinda the average person's, the normal person's, life, and not anything too spectacular or flashy," Rogers says. "Just kinda the truth and some chords."

kakens@csindy.com

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