You may not know who Robin Rogers is, but you should. Robin is an “up and coming” Blues singer who won the 2009 Blues Blast award for Best Female Artist. Like all other “up and coming” artists and “overnight sensations”, Robin’s career is a result of a lot of hard work, done along many long, winding roads over many, many years. She’s just beginning to break into the national consciousness, and it’s a small measure of success that is most definitely well deserved.
I met Robin only once, at the 2008 Tampa Bay Blues Fest. Her husband, Tony Rogers, plays guitar in the band and is Robin’s primary songwriting partner. He and I played together briefly in a project in North Carolina that never got off of the ground back in the early 1990’s. I went to the Tampa Bay Blues Fest to say hello to Tony and show my support. After their set, Robin came out and introduced herself to me and treated me like I was an old friend. I liked her right away. She has a warm smile and presence that comes across on-stage. Your most immediate impression is that this is a woman to be reckoned with.
So… why am I writing this? Well, I’m writing primarily because Robin was admitted to Gaston Memorial Hospital in North Carolina on August 18th after suffering from internal bleeding due to varices, or enlarged veins, in her esophagus and other areas. It’s a common symptom of Hepatitis C, which she believes she contracted from sharing needles more than two decades ago in her wilder youth. She has had three endoscopies and is slated to undergo surgery in Charlotte this week.
I’m struggling as I write this to balance my habitual need to write a good story with my personal feelings and desire to express my concern and well wishes to Tony and Robin. In the end, though, I’m just trying to get the word out. Robin’s lack of insurance has made her mounting medical bills a daunting reality, and she can’t make money performing while battling her condition.
As Tony recently told the Gaston Gazette: “Suddenly we’re unemployed,” he said. “They don’t pay unemployment to musicians.”
Robin and Tony are releasing a new CD, “Back in the Fire”, on September 11th. If you would like to show your support and help these deserving and talented people keep their heads above water, you can order the new CD, as well as past releases, at www.robinrogers.com. Ordering from the website, instead of other sources such as amazon.com or iTunes, puts more of the money in Robin’s and Tony’s hands.
A pair of fundraisers have also been planned to help with her medical expenses. One will be a nonprofit yard sale held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at The Bluffs at Northwoods apartment complex in Gastonia, North Carolina. Several bands will also perform during a special concert to benefit Rogers on Oct. 17 in Charlotte, North Carolina, at the Double Door Inn, although details are still being worked out.
In the meantime, fans who want to donate directly to the Robin Rogers Medical Trust Fund can do so by making a deposit at any Bank of America, using the account number 0006-5617-0126. Checks may also be mailed to Rachel Pickard, Attorney at Law Trustee, at P.O. Box 547, Gastonia, NC 28053.
I’ll keep Robin, and Tony, in my prayers in the coming days and weeks, and I hope you’ll do the same. Robin’s story is one of a singer and performer who achieved salvation from substance abuse through the love of her craft. That’s a story that deserves a happy ending. Here’s to hoping that she’ll be back on her feet and stronger than ever soon.
- Robin Rogers – official web site
- Gastonia Gazette article about Robin’s hospitalization
- Robin Rogers Needs Our Help @ LiveBluesWorld.com