The Library Sessions: Sarah Rogo

As a relatively recent California transplant, the singer-songwriter-guitarist spent the evening at the Golden State office for a bluesy installment of The Library Sessions.

Sarah Rogo is a new up-and-coming songstress and guitar player on the California scene. Blending old blues and soul styles with a youthful twist, she captivates audiences of all ages. Weaving slide guitar work on her unique guitars, she paints vivid pictures through sound and song. Authentic and soulful, she has become the new troubadour of southern California.

A nominee for Best Singer-Songwriter at the 2018 San Diego Music Awards, Sarah first picked up a guitar at 13 as a way of performing the songs she’d already written. A self-proclaimed band nerd, she played saxophone, bassoon and clarinet and conducted the school marching band.

Growing up, Sarah spent hours listening to music in the local public library, where her tastes ran from klezmer and Middle Eastern sounds to a 1991 live album recorded by Buddy Guy and Junior Wells, Alone and Acoustic, which changed her life.

“The whole thing is in the key of E and you just know they’re making up the words as they go along, but it totally captivated me,” she enthuses. “That’s the kind of music I wanted to play. I knew the blues had to come from the soul. That’s what made it so magical, what moved me, that authenticity, the mojo, even though I had no idea what those words meant until later. The blues just overwhelmed me.”

Sarah proved an apt performer, and before long, she was writing songs in the vein of those whose music she idolized, evoking such contemporary singer-songwriters as Bonnie Raitt, Rory Block, Eva Cassidy and folk rockers Dawes.

“The common thread in my writing is the dance between dark and light. I’ve learned to dance with my demons in a healthy way. Life is inherently hard, and the blues has taught me how to navigate hardship and guide me into balance. In a nutshell, blues is the yin and yang and I take refuge in that. It’s a meditation and a prayer… it’s a wish, a hope.”

That’s reflected in Rogo’s joyful and spunky performances on-stage, where her energy is contagious. She takes her inspiration from nature and the nearby ocean, always writing outdoors, where inspiration can strike at any moment, and usually does. “I’m fueled by nature. When I’m writing or wandering the woods or the beach I can hear the whisperings of my heart. There are melodies in nature and I scoop them up and take them home.”

Rogo is currently recording her debut album. “I just want to learn and have fun with new people in new places. I live to perform and collect stories,” she says. “I want to dive right in and fearlessly be myself in this giant shark tank known as the music business.”

If anyone can surf those dangerous waters, it’s Sarah Rogo.

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