Artist: Benjamin Dakota Rogers
Album: Paint Horse (Feb 17, 2023)
Label: Good People Record Co
Genre: Folk, Bluegrass, Americana
Growing up on a farm in Southwestern Ontario, building greenhouses and living off the land, folk songwriter Benjamin Dakota Rogers yearned to escape rural life. But as times changed and the pandemic hit, he became more appreciative of the way of life he was exposed to; traveling to festivals in a VW bus, tapping trees and listening to fiddle music. This led Rogers to start writing and recording his own music, often in the barn he now lives in. And it’s the experience of where he grew up as well as his own search for self that inspired his latest single “Arlo”:
“I think there’s a bunch of things that came together for me when I was writing ‘Arlo.’ I’d spent more time at my folks’ farm through the pandemic and developed a newfound appreciation for the land and the quiet that was missing in my youthful lust to escape rural life. With that appreciation came the frustration that it wasn’t as quiet as it used to be, as more trucks and cars sped up and down the highway a concession over. Seeing farms in our county be bought out for development and feeling the strong sense that the 150-year-old home I grew up in wouldn’t be there anymore in 50 years. Amidst all of that, trying to find where I fit in and who I want to be as the world changes around me. I think that’s where Arlo comes from: he’s someone like me who maybe didn’t have music. We shot the video in the loft of my family’s old pack barn; I do a lot of writing up there in the summer. It’s full of antiques and still smells of the tobacco that hasn’t hung there in 30 years.”
A wistful and touching folk track, Rogers sings about the freeways passing his family farm and the simple, quiet life he live, as he asks “Is this all that you have for me? It’s not what I pictured when I was seventeen”. Over subdued acoustic guitar and a lilting fiddle accompaniment, the track connects to something fundamental in human nature, our view of the past and our hopes for the future.