Roger Clyne’s concerts should be easy for him with 20 years of music under his belt.
But the Tempe musician admits that, with shows like the June 30 CD release party for Native Heart coming up, there’s a “touch of healthy anxiety.”
“We want to make sure we know these songs on our home turf,” says the frontman of Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers. “We want to give the best presentation of the music and knock it out of the park.”
Native Heart, due out Friday, June 30, as well, is available for preorder with instant access to the single “Flowerin’.” The 10-track project was produced by Grammy winner Steve Berlin and mixed by Michael Brauer at Electric Lady Studios in New York City. As usual with any new Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers’ music, there is a buzz around Native Heart.
“I have already seen people out there wearing preorder T-shirts,” says Clyne, calling in the midst of a U.S. tour. “We saw some last night in Atlanta. There are people singing ‘Flowerin’’ and ‘Every Kind of Lucky.’ Fans are getting familiar with it before it hits the shelves, so to speak.”
Although the records fare well, live shows are the Peacemakers’ bread and butter, Clyne explains.
“I think it just goes back to no matter how the record gets disseminated, i.e., radio, internet, record store shelves or if somebody burned it on a mixtape, our band is a live band,” he says. “We connect to people person to person. We stay touring, even though it’s energy-intensive. The Peacemakers’ voice becomes their voice. We speak with one heart—one ‘native heart,’ so to speak, to go back to that.”
That belief creates a bond between the Peacemakers and their fans.
“The line between band and fan is really blurred and we’re just a community of friends,” Clyne says. “I hang out with our fans because we’re all Peacemakers. We’re lucky that our music resonates with so many.”
Clyne took a chance with the writing of Native Heart, deciding to improvise instead of sitting down and creating a “statement of intent.”
“For example, (2004’s) Americano was largely an exploration into the price of the course of empire for a nation and an individual human heart,” he says.
“For Native Heart, I was approaching my 10th studio record, which is a watermark for any artist, 20-years-plus in the business. I wanted the music to flow more spontaneously and explore what I would say without a statement of intent. Native Heart is what came about. It’s a summation. It’s a compilation of free expression without following a path.”
Native Heart was a labor of love because of this.
“I love, love, love songwriting, but the more I do it, the more I realize I have a habit and I fall into certain routines,” Clyne explains. “I wanted to challenge those in Native Heart, and that became difficult. I wanted, one, to see what was becoming rote in my writing, and break it in a way that was uncomfortable and challenging.
“Two, I wanted good quality. I didn’t want to throw something out there because it was different. I wanted it to be informative to the piece of work, to the song and to the album. It was tough. It was one of the tougher writing sequences I’ve been involved in.”
Clyne admitted to being a perfectionist, something that’s clear when he describes his music.
“I create a lot of things, a lot of music and I don’t use most of it,” he says. “At the same time, I never throw anything away. I work on my music quickly and spontaneously. I scrutinize my songs. I don’t want to put too much glaze on the songs, though.”
One commonality among his music is his love of Arizona and Mexico. He recently returned from Circus Mexicus, his annual four-day music festival in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.
“I’m really fortunate to have been born in Arizona and have this confluence of cultures here, and the best Mexican food outside of Mexico,” he says with a laugh. “The whole Southwest region is home to giants and legends and sweeping, amazing, mythological-sized landscapes that I get to use as the backdrop for my songs, my life and the Peacemakers’ music.”
Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, Livewire, 7320 E. Indian Plaza, Scottsdale, livewireaz.com, 7 p.m. Friday, June 30, $35.50 plus fees.