The return of Roger Lear—sort of


Roger Lear looks so much like my cat Sundance, it’s uncanny. And, honestly, Lear, in fact, has, one would swear, nine lives. He’s been through more tough scrapes, nimbly reviving and resuscitating his musical career under circumstances that would’ve seen lesser determined and even more talented cats throw in the towel. Two and three times. Roger has to show for his ceaseless efforts the label and production company Smooth Composition Recordings and several album releases, including a few with noted vocalist Thomasina Petrus doing backup on some and featured work on others.

Far as I’m concerned, his most vital distinction is that he’s the only one of six producers to work on my perennially to-be-released CD Angels Don’t Really Fly I didn’t have to fire. Lear hooked up a version of “Pretty Girl” that burns a hole in any other rendition I’ve played or recorded (and I wrote the damn thing). A while back, when sessions began at Winterland Studios, he had left the Twin Cities for, all places, Seattle. So, that was his only song on the project. For a taste of how sweet it is, if I do say so myself, checkout There he is, on keys, bass, guitar, and drum track. With, now that I think about it, Petrus on backup vocals.

All this to say that as luck would have it, I’m bopping down the street a few weeks ago and, out of nowhere, here Roger Lear is, rolling down the avenue sporting his characteristic Cheshire Cat grin. We say hey like it’s only been a day or two, not several years since we’ve seen each other (me and him always fall back into it like that) and take a minute to shoot the breeze. He’s on Facebook. Me too. Cool. We agree to look each other up. Just like that, without so much as a hearty “Hi-yo, Silver”, he’s going down the road, the daring and resourceful low rider on his way to wherever.

Roger tells me he’ll make it to my upcoming Corner Coffee gig. Sure as hell hope so, ’cause it’d be nice to have that rascal come down and maybe even sit in. If he does make it and I’m real lucky, there’ll be a minute afterward to actually have a conversation and find out just what the hell he’s doing all the way on the Left Coast these days when he had been doing pretty good right here in Minneapolis. Thing about Roger, though, he’s the original freewheeling spirit. Will o’ the wisp and all like that. In other words, don’t look for him ’til you see him coming. We’ll just have to see.

Singer-Songwriter Dwight Hobbes at Corner Coffee, 514 No. 3rd St. in Minneapolis’ Warehouse District. July 8th, 7 p.m. No cover, all ages.