Known as “rock n’ roll’s secret weapon”, band leader and frontman Kris ‘Fingers’ Rodgers has been a recording & touring sideman in top touring garage rock and power pop acts like The Connection, Scott Sorry, The New Trocaderos, Bullet Proof Lovers, and Kurt Baker Band for years but hes also more than that he’s a fully fledged solo artist or rather moved his stool out front, centre and headed up his own beat combo the Dirty Gems.

Born and raised a half-hour from the band’s home base of Portland, Maine, Kris Rodgers already had one full-length album and several EPs with The Dirty Gems under his belt before beginning work on ‘Still Dirty’ in 2019 (pre pandemic right). Recording commenced in bassist Ryan Halliburton’s basement, known as The Wreck Room. Along with guitarist Tom Hall and drummer Craig Sala, the four longtime bandmates tracked the bulk of the album right there. Drums and vocals for the nine original songs were re-recorded at two additional studios in Maine, and the energetic cover of Elton John’s “Take Me To The Pilot” was cut live in a pro studio environment.

Unlike previous releases where Rodgers wrote the original material himself, a more collaborative aproach was taken for this record I guess to show its a unit, a band in every sense of the word.

Having already been given the acolade of Stevie Van Zandt’s number one Coolest Song of the year.the time had come to add a little more history. Starting this tour off in funky town, with the vocoder and funky bass with added dueling jazzy solos Kris sings like hes wearing a cheshire cat smile on his face and this little ray of easy coast sunshine is up and running.  The songs keep coming and the smile gets wider as the party has started and the songs keep coming, ‘I Can Still Feel It’ rattles its two left feet into the more laid back ‘Can’t Give It’ with its cool shuffle on the backbeat of course its great musicianship and theres breathing space for all the players.

They can Rock out on ‘Don’t Look Back’ and they can kick back on the dreamy ‘Across The Galaxy’ sure its got middle of the road American Radio mainlined but why not? The Elton cover is a no brainer for this band as they effortlessly nail it.  But wait another change of pace with the peacock strut of ‘I’m Your Man’ – jees they get smooth for the jazzy shuffle of ‘Tortuga’ – nice!

Signing off this record theres the baladlike piano intro of ‘See You Later’.  Its not for everyone and people might raise an eyebrow as to how its found its way onto RPM Online but we don’t give a damn about all that genre jazz we like to champion great musicians and whist this record is a ray of sunshine the nex trelease could easily be a slice of down n dirty garage rock n roll thats the beauty of this business and talen like Rodgers and his Dirty Gems.  Fire up the BBQ and invite the famiy over and someone hit repeat and bring on the sunshine.

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Author: Dom Daley