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Roger Rodier biography
Roger Rodier is a Québecois composer, singer and guitarist, that drew favorable comparisons to Nick Drake. He was born in Montréal and released only one album, called Upon Velveatur, in 1972 and two singles prior to that (1969) in collaboration with his buddy Germain Gautier. Rodier is really an unknown/forgotten artist, an obscure character, he didn't make public appearances often. When his album came out, he only made a couple of gigs, some alone, some in support of Procol Harum and Genesis.
After a moment he started to compose a new album, but nothing came out of his recent compositions. Since then, he slowly stopped playing music. He now lives in exile.

:::: Bio written by Gabriel Rivest (Tsevir Leirbag), Quebec, Canada ::::

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3.98 | 14 ratings
Upon Velveatur

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 Upon Velveatur by RODIER, ROGER album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.98 | 14 ratings

Upon Velveatur
Roger Rodier Prog Folk

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars Sole album from a Quebecois bard, all too often cited as Quebec's answer to Nick Drake. While there is some kind of validity to that, Rodier is simply so much more than Nick, despite his sole album compared to Drake's three. While that may sound/read as a bit presumptuous, please read on, because Roger's psych folk rock reaches many other dimensions, including some rather hard-rocking guitar solos and some delightful CSN&Y vocal harmonies.

But let's go back to the beginning: Rodier came to music in the late 60's as a folk artiste and re corded a pair of singles with buddy Germain Gauthier. Both singles were released in 69 and went unnoticed, partly due to Rodier's lack of willingness to strike it big with the medias, despite a certain hype and some label efforts. Both singles are included as bonus tracks on the present album's CD reissue. Upon Veveatur was recorded in 72 in a brand new Montreal recording studio, with his buddy Germain and a certain Red Mitchell on electric guitar and some unknown musicians to boot. Released on Columbia and receiving some very worthy plaudits, but never released outside Canada.

Like the aforementioned Drake, Rodier's folk has a propensity to use some strong string arrangements, and tracks like Listen To These Chords, Spirit's Calling, The Key, Happyness (sic) and Just Fine certainly do that. Elsewhere the strong vocal harmonies of Am I Supposed and the slightly bluesy Happyness (re-sic) are reminiscent of the best (and proggier) CSNY. Other tracks like Castle's Burning or Happyness (again) have a real hippie rebel feel, often enhanced by some killer electric guitar interventions, courtesy of Mitchell. The non-album single tracks are very worthy bonus tracks (two of them are sung in French), as they melt in quite nicely with the Velveatur album's soundscapes, if only a tad happier and a slightly lighter production and sometimes featuring some flute and organ. So much so, that if you don't pay closely attention enough, you might just not even notice the three-year time gap between the singles and the album. Have You even has a slight Blonde-era Dylan feel.

Rodier did play for a few more years, and sometimes as an opening act to certain bands like Procol Harum and Genesis, but nothing more came in terms of recording out put. His sole album is certainly a very worthy unearthed gem, filled with ultra-personal ambiances and thoughtful lyrics; an album that might not be essential per se, but will be a solid consolidation block for your early 70's shelf.

 Upon Velveatur by RODIER, ROGER album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.98 | 14 ratings

Upon Velveatur
Roger Rodier Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

4 stars 'Upon Velveatur' is another interesting and tastefully remastered record courtesy Sunbeam Records whose originator Roger Rodier was lucky to find issued once, let alone twice. Not that the music isn't worthy of vinyl (or polycarbonate for that matter), but it is a bit odd that he managed to get himself signed and recorded by a major label (Columbia) and even promoted considering his relative obscurity.

Imagine a guy who looks like the half-brother of Geddy Lee and Roger Hodgson, sounds an awful lot like a young Al Stewart, and apparently had the social demeanor of the late Nick Drake and you have a decent picture of Mr. Rodier. Like I said, interesting album.

Rodier seems to have gotten his forgettable start with the just as obscure Mike Jones Group in the mid-sixties, Mike Jones aka Michel Lachance (producer of Harmonium's first album, not the hockey player). I say forgettable because apparently fellow Jones Group member George Legrady (interviewed in 2009) didn't even remember Rodier being in the band. No matter, Rodier managed to land himself a solo record deal anyway after releasing a couple singles with music partner Germain Gauthier in the late sixties. This is the only album to result from that deal; a second studio effort would be abandoned the following year before Rodier slipped away into permanent obscurity.

The sounds here are more varied than most of the reviews I've read would suggest. The opening tracks "Listen to these Chords I Play (Celeste)" and "My Spirit's Calling" are deceptively pastoral folk tunes with some gentle acoustic guitar fingering and ethereal, dreamy vocals. Deceptive because most of the rest of the album veers away from this sound, rather abruptly in the case of the third song "Am I Supposed to let it by Again (Above the Covers)" which is a jilted-lover tale complete with polyphonic backing vocals and some excellent acid-tinged electric guitar soloing by Rodier's former duet partner Gauthier.

I should mention several of the acoustic tracks also feature a couple of studio tricks-of-the- trade that were fairly common with solo singer-songwriter recordings of the late sixties and early seventies, namely lush orchestral strings and subtly evocative female harmonizing. The strings serve to fill out what would be an otherwise fairly sparse sound, while the female vocals give depth and contrast to Rodier's wispy tenor. Both of these are present on "The Key", which is also the most Al Stewart-sounding folksy track on the album although the theme is an abstractly introspective Jesus-freak sort of thing quite in keeping with the times in which it was recorded.

A lot of the uncredited backing was probably the work of various studio musicians, most impressive of which is guitarist Red Mitchell, who is actually credited in the reissue liner notes. Rodier gets into the spirit of this strident number with some tense and biting vocals that result in a song that sounds like something more in the vein of post-grunge early nineties ala Oasis or Blur. In fact I doubt if anyone would have been the wiser had this one appeared on FM radio around 1993 or so, save for the fact there wouldn't have been any music videos or tabloid headlines to accompany it.

"You Don't Know What it's Like" is another pop-folk crooner, but once again producer Gary Muth spices it up with female backing vocals, piano and a bit of languid French horn, while "Just Fine" is very much in the vein of the most introverted Nick Drake songs but again with (synthesized) strings, and "Let's See Some Happyness" borders on a CS&N song circa "Wooden Ships" but with a jazzy bit of piano work and plucky electric guitar.

The CD reissue includes five bonus tracks, the first of which ("Easy Song") was actually recorded along with the rest of the album, released as a single and intended to be part of the original tracklist. This one is quite poppy with rolling snare drums and flower-power doo-wop backing singers and lyrics to match ("if you're down and out, well there's nothing here to worry about").

There are also a pair of French-language songs from the first Gauthier-Rodier single, both of which are pop-psych in construction and decent but unremarkable in any way. And the final two tracks are also from the Gauthier pairing, similar though more folksy and with English vocals.

A review can't do justice to the experience of enjoying this album, particularly since Rodier's sappy but sincere vocals and acoustic fingering style can be appreciated on a quiet evening alone much more easily than they can be praised in sterile typed text. Too bad the man left music behind and, as he explains in the CD liner notes, abandoned guitar playing altogether many years ago. Perhaps in this age of easy internet access to prospective fans he should give it another go. In any case I don't have any qualms giving this one four out of five stars and a hearty recommendation to anyone who has a soft spot for folk-leaning music.


Thanks to sean trane for the artist addition.

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