Western Swing Music Society

Vancouver, BC Canada

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A total shock to the music community was that of Frankie Rodgers' sudden passing on September 9th, 2009 at his home in Cloverdale, a suburb of metro Vancouver. 
His career as a competent musician would span nigh on six decades.   As I would describe Frankie...he ate, slept, and breathed music. 
Having known him since his teen years, I have had the greatest respect for him as both a personal friend as well as that of a fellow musician.   He, believably, was one of the most talented and dedicated musicians I have ever come to know.   He had a remarkable sense of humour which could upset many a 'straight man' !   A tremendous loss to us all, he will be remembered as one of Canada's finest instrumentalists and entertainers.
A celebration of his life was held in the Canadian Legion Auditorium in Cloverdale on October 11th, 2009.  A capacity crowd of friends and musicians were in attendance to enjoy the proceedings and participate on stage playing the music which was Frankie's life.  This event was hosted by his brother Hank and close associates whom are too numerous to mention here.      

Frankie's memory will forever be with us for he undoubtedly has left us with a remarkable legacy that will live on for generations to come.

                               Len Knutson

Frankie Rodgers.... where do I start?   How about – the Best!”  And I miss him. 
Met Frankie in Edmonton in 1957.  In 1966 I was honoured to work with the Rodgers Brothers as lead vocalist at many rodeos and fairs in Alberta for radio CFCW.
In 1971 he arranged and played fiddle and viola on my first album, I Found A Song.
In the 80's Frankie returned from Australia and moved to B.C. and became a member of my Super Country  Band.   What an asset that was!  He could play lead and back me up with harmonies.     I finally had a band with twin fiddles..along with his brother Hank on steel guitar, I had a real Country band.  
We were always good friends and I really
miss him, plus I will not be able to see him perform any more and that hurts.   But what really hurts is that we are short one damn good fiddle player!
God  Love You  Frankie.

                                                         Elmer Tippe
Musicians know that when the chemistry is right, the music swings.  It was that way when I played with Frankie Rodgers.  Frankie was a fine soloist, composer, arranger...a violin/fiddle player extraordinaire. 
Having known Frankie for over 20 years, I had the  privilege of playing many gigs with him and exchanging stories of a musicians life,
especially of life on the road.  It was always a neat experience to work with Frankie.  Whatever the venue, Frankie knew how to work the crowd.      When we nominated him for the Northwest Western Swing Music Society Hall of Fame in 2008 the audiences couldn't get enough of Frankie and his violin.   His induction into the NWWSMS was a highlight of that year's event.
Frankie was a quiet person...humble.   He had a unique technique with his 2 string harmonies and ability to create on the spot.  I will always remember the magic created when playing together.       When a musical connection is made, it is never forgotten, always special...a fine soloist and a pleasure to work with.  
As a professional musician, I treasure the opportunities that I had to perform with Frankie Rodgers.

                    Gerry  Adamus

For 20+ years  I had the pleasure of playing music with this great fiddle player, Frankie Rodgers.  
I first met Frankie at a legion in the Vancouver area, where he was playing with a group of my musical friends.   The next day being Sunday, the Fraser Valley Fiddlers in Abbotsford, were having their fiddle contest, where Frankie's name was mentioned often in the highest regard   At that point, I decided to ask Frankie if he would like to come over and put on a show for the fiddlers, and I would back him up.   This was the beginning of our musical association, which continue on until his passing.   As a fellow musician, I always appreciated and respected Frankie's musical talent.  He will be greatly missed !
PS – I would be a very wealthy man if I could have had a buck for every time we played the Orange Blossom Special together.
                      Ernie Straiton

I met Frankie and Shirley Rodgers when they returned from Australia.   Frankie worked with Elmer Tippe and our band for about six months and  I haven't worked with a finer fiddle player in Canada.
Frankie was the consummate entertainer with the fiddle.   He enjoyed doing things differently than other fiddle players.  He had fiddles made of toilet seats, plungers and other such finery.
He always enjoyed including things for children in his act.   One of the favourites was, Old MacDonald's Farm.   He made the fiddle sound like various farm animals.   It always went over very well. 
I especially enjoyed doing the western swing jam sessions when I was fortunate enough to jam with Hank and Frankie.   Frankie played excellent swing fiddle.   He definitely will be missed by all.

                          Denny Slaght

I first met Frankie Rodgers when we were both teaching at the B.C. Bluegrass Workshop a few years ago.  We performed together in a concert with other instructors, and it was one of the most exciting experiences of my life.  His playing just added such a spark to everything, and he was so quick to pick up songs he'd never heard before and make them sound great ( There's a YOUTUBE video of that show – you can find it by searching “ Orange Blossom Special – Frankie Rodgers.”)

We discovered that we both loved Western Swing, so I invited Frankie to be part of a new band Sugar Moon, with my singing partner, Dale Rasmussen on piano and vocals, Stu MacDonald on bass, John Cody on drums, and me on vocals and rhythm guitar.   Frankie asked if it would be okay if we included his brother, Hank on steel guitar.  OK ? ? What a team those two were !  Every song
they did featured harmony licks, intros and endings that were so perfectly in sync it sounded like they were  being played by one person.   And singing with the Rodgers Brothers as backup was a dream come true..

We did one demo recording, which can be heard on my website at www.suemalcolm.com in the section titled 'news'.

Frankie also graced the stage with my bluegrass band at the time, False Creek, in the summer of 2005.  We performed at the Vancouver Island Music Fest in Courtenay ( there's another YOUTUBE video titled Sweet Georgia Brown – Frankie Rodgers as well as the Rombs Bluegrass Festival in the tiny town of Fairview, Alberta, north of Dawson Creek. 

Frankie and Hank were so well known in Alberta that many people traveled to the festival just to hear Frankie, and they were not disappointed.

No matter what the style of music- country, western swing, or bluegrass, he always knew exactly the right thing to play.

I treasure the time I spent with Frankie Rodgers, who made every performance, jam or rehearsal into a party.

                    Sue Malcolm

We will miss Frankie Rodgers.   He was an inspired, imaginative player and a kind and generous man.

                    Tony Rees

Frankie Rodgers with whom I played over the years at the WSMS showcases was always able to inspire you to listen and to play your best .

He was forever playing jokes, musically, on musicians by leading you to areas that were new grounds to explore. 

A very humble man to know and work with and he'll be greatly missed.

                        Mike Higgins

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Contact – John York  email or phone: 604-299-2301