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Catch Blues Band Fever with Mike Roeder

By Staff | May 20, 2008

Mike Roeder is the lead guitarist and vox for The Catch Blues Band (www.thecatchbluesband.com). Since he started playing at the age of 8 — nearly 40 years ago — he’s had experience playing with many bands and projects. You may have seen him opening for Boxcar Willie, T.G. Shepard, Tammy Wynette, David Allan Coe, and others. You can see the band this year at such places as Wheeling Island Race Track, Mountaineer Bar and Grill, several private M/C parties, and BoozaPalooza at the Marshall County Fairgrounds. The band also includes Dana Burkhart on bass, Kevin Brosh on keyboards, and John “J.D.” Daner on drums.

Mike was born to be a musician: his dad sang and played guitar, while his mom played bass, guitar, violin, organ, harmonica, ukulele and the saw!

Graffiti: What are your latest projects?

Mike Roeder: I am currently writing songs for a new CD entitled, “You Should Have Never Left Me.” I’ve completed nine songs towards my new project. I’m hoping to churn out 6 more in time to release at the Eighth annual Wheeling Heritage Music Bluesfest on Aug. 8.

Graffiti: How did you decide to become a professional musician?

Mike Roeder: I come from a musical family. My mother and father played country music. My brother Gary, a drummer, played funk and rock while I was growing up. The first time I saw the Allman Brothers, I knew that I wanted to play guitar and sing. My mother, who played bass, started me on that instrument, and then dad bought me a guitar from Sears & Roebuck.

Graffiti: Describe your process for writing songs.

Mike Roeder: Sometimes, I start with a rhythm and then add the lyrics. Other times it’s just the opposite. I get an idea for a lyric and I write the music around it. Writing the blues comes easy to me. It’s a genetic disorder. Lately, I’ve been popping them out like a woman on fertility drugs. My last CD took 10 years to write.

Graffiti: You have diverse musical influences from Jackson Browne to Dickie Betts. How do you meld them together in your music?

Mike Roeder: Jackson Browne is a great lyricist, and I’ve always been intrigued by song lyrics and how they affect people. The guitar stylings of Dickie Betts, Robben Ford and Eric Clapton always blew me away. I can relate to the emotions that these guitarists are expressing musically.  

I picked up a little Latin and Reggae influence from the time I spent living and playing in Florida.

I get a lot of ideas from listening to other blues musicians. I owe a lot of my guitar style to my life-long teacher and friend, Dana Burkhart. I learned the blues from Niagara Falls bluesman, Jack Thurman.

When I take a new song to the band, they dissect it and fix anything that doesn’t work. Then, it becomes the Catch Blues Band’s song.

Graffiti: What CDs are you listening to these days?

Mike Roeder: Eric Clapton “From the Cradle,” Robben Ford “Handful of Blues.”

Graffiti: What are the biggest gigs you’ve played?

Mike Roeder: Bigger isn’t always better. I’ve appeared at the WWVA Jamboree in Wheeling, the Huntington Civic Arena, the Heritage Music Bluesfest, and the Wheeling Italian Heritage Festival.  

Contact Tamar at tfleishman@graffitiwv.com