Mark Rogers is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter whose debut EP Rearranged offers audiences a warm and partly nostalgic touch of gentle Americana, featuring a string of thoughtful lyrics and enjoyable melodies. Right Here is the opener and starts things off in a comforting and yet reflective manner that gets you considering the ways of the world and the behaviors we all take part in each day. The concept is simple and inspires a sense of living in the moment, something which suits the mood set by the music really well. The song also touches on the EP title and the underlying ideas that led to this collection.
Slow Parade mellows things out further, though the melody and instrumentation take on a hint of retro swagger and possible, distant melancholy. Certain chord changes present the latter in an interesting way. The descending melodic moments break away from the norm and keep the piece entertaining and appealing. After this, the gentle pop energy of I Can’t Say Why fits well, the personal touch brings you closer to the artist behind the music, the slightly more upbeat pace arrives at the right time. The theme of the song continues along this considerate and reflective pathway that often arranges living in the now alongside of thinking quite deeply about the past and the future.
Waiting is a notably soft sounding and slightly country-esque piece, presenting another gorgeously developing melody. Mark Rogers structures the song effectively here, reflecting on each lyrical sentiment by having the music back it up appropriately. The poetic imagery suits the sound, suggesting again that this is an artist who crafts his songs with both music and lyricism intertwined in the expression – rather than one simply providing a platform for the other.
Story telling leads the way for Takes Me Back Again. As implied by the title, nostalgia is a big part of this one, though again that element of the here and now cleverly lingers as an inherent part of the experience. The music is smooth and fairly retro, the keys and the rhythm create a subtle jazz ambiance that lets the story line float along as the main focus of the song.
The Blue Of December is the finishing track, one that draws from all elements touched upon previously – the easy going melodies, the story telling, the poetry, the personal reflection and honesty. There’s a lot of space on this one, certain pauses pave the way towards the return of specific melodic moments, adding significantly to their impact. The double vocals and the acoustic guitar picking are all that light the way, though it feels just as warm and meaningful as everything else – perhaps even increasing that necessary openness and realness that allows listeners to really connect. You get a real sense of what a live show would be like from this and indeed the majority of the project. Mark Rogers’ songwriting is easy to enjoy and this EP showcases his style and his approach to artistry under a warm and peaceful spotlight.