Local musician Jared Rogerson has spent countless hours in our beloved mountains. Much of Jared’s songwriting draws from thousands of miles atop broke saddle horses traversing the rugged Wind River mountains near his home in Pinedale, along with the many years he devoted to riding wild bareback broncs on the rodeo circuit. His respect for both the tame and unruly is underlined in his lyrics depicting modern themes of love, heartbreak, determination, and defiance from the perspective of one living in an ever-changing West. Through his travels and a diversity of friendships made along the way, Jared was exposed to and garnered a respect for a variety of musical styles which would later combine to influence his own sound. Now, as a self-proclaimed songwriting ambassador for the rural West, his artistic approach stretches across boundaries of Country, Americana, Western, and Folk genres. His four albums, Heaven (2016), Dirt (2013), Peace, Love & Horses (2011) and Bad Hay (2010) feature all-original material and have received wide acclaim and airplay. Jared can be found performing regularly across the intermountain West as a solo act or with his band behind him and his geographic reach is continually expanding.
Below Rogerson writes of his experience in the Winds and how they inspired many of his songs.
The Wind River Mountains are touted by locals and tourists for their magnificent beauty. Many are content with a striking view from the back porch or a pristine overlook from the highway. For me, it is not so simple; it never has been. To exist in the heart of the wilderness is something more than an acute need. Rather, a primal instinct resides within to ride, hike, and climb these rugged mountains. It’s the setting where I feel the greatest sense of belonging. Where I am as the eagle and the elk; truly free and truly ‘me.’ My time spent below is merely mental and physical preparation to return to that which is above. I wish to spend my days up there alone- alone with the ones I love most. It is often considered a hard life by some. Toiling for a drink of water, something to eat, or a place to bed down on uneven ground is not regarded as leisurely recreation by the masses. I would agree. My explorations into the Wind River’s to discover a new lake, navigate a new route, or summit a peak for the first time reflect a fundamental way of life, not a game. Sometimes the goal is more oblique; to simply wander and experience as fate directs. Either way, the reward is real and comes in numerous forms simultaneously: an overwhelming feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction, a gratifying sense of self-sufficiency and independence, or a nearly tangible perception of peace that fills one’s soul to capacity. It becomes an addiction, to feel alive, but an addition that I choose.
Upon return from the high country, I have discovered that relaying an adequate account of grand adventure to someone foreign to the undertaking is a complete loss. It is just not relatable. Still, I try with spoken word and song lyric. Not to offer an equivalent experience, but to provide inspiration that motivates others to seek their own and rejoice in the emotional reward that follows. What more can I say than the Wind River Mountains are so engrained into my being that I likely to do not fully understand their influence on my art as a singer/songwriter? After returning to civilization, a new song may begin to grow and become of subject completely off topic. Yet, it was the mountain that provided seed. That seed may have existed only as the purest form of ‘quiet.’ The kind of quiet that heals the battered mind from being beaten down daily by a push-button society. That special kind of quiet is enough to disrupt the dark silence known as ‘writer’s block.’ At other times, the seed may have been in the form of literal experience providing just the right plot for a sonic story.
While the Wind River Mountain’s deliver to us relevant historical tales of explorers, mountain men, natives and cowboys of the not-so-distant past, they also offer a fertile field for personal cultivation in the present day. We are taught more about ourselves in 10 days on the mountain than 10 years in the valley. Lessons learned at those mountainous elevations are more vivid and less easily forgotten. Indeed, altitude changes attitude, and attitude changes the world. Now that’s a song worth writing.
Songs I have recorded to date that are directly inspired by the experiences of others or my own in the Wind River Mountains include Band of Brothers, The Same Dark Trail, Glad I Took This Ride, Above the Timberline, End of Days, What a Way To Go, Sweetwater, Campfire, Ryegrass Riders, Gone Wild, Shimmer in the Pines, Let’s Ride, She Likes Diamonds, Us or Bust, and Why Wyoming.
Jared Rogerson's new album Heaven can be purchased on his website jaredrogerson.com.
Take a listen to Jared's song Band of Brothers inspired by the Wind River Moutnains!