Nfld. & Labrador·First Listen

Roger Howse plays the 21st Century Blues

Roger Howse’s sixth album, 21st Century Blues, is his way of reaching out to fans that he doesn’t see much anymore.

Have a First Listen to the latest album from Roger Howse

For decades, Howse has been regarded as one of the finest blues guitarists to ever come out of Newfoundland and Labrador. (Joseph Robichaud )

Blues musician Roger Howse says that performing in front of an audience has always been his favourite way to communicate with other people.

"That connection and that feeling that everybody's in the same place and we're all feeling the same thing, because we're all human," said Howse.

Howse's sixth album, 21st Century Blues, is his way of reaching out to fans that he doesn't see much anymore.  

Halifax home studio

Howse has had some health challenges in recent years, and now lives in Halifax. His playing is mostly done at home these days.

He recorded 21st Century Blues in a studio he rigged up at home, playing all the different parts himself.  

It would be great to get home to play again.- Roger Howse

The songs, with titles such as End of the Line, and Black Dog Blues, leans toward the dark.

"It's kind of a dark time for a lot of people — and I think a dark blues album is appropriate."

For decades, Howse has been regarded as one of the finest blues guitarists to ever come out of Newfoundland and Labrador.

N.L. Blues legend 

In the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s, Howse was a regular collaborator with fellow bluesman Denis Parker, had his own band, Ruff Ideas, and could frequently be seen playing live around St. John's.  

His recordings with Parker and Ruff Ideas received popular and critical acclaim.

Howse also received an East Coast Music Award in 1994, and was featured on a Juno Award-winning blues recording compilation in 1991.

He relocated to Halifax years ago, and has been active in that city's live music scene, when his health has permitted.

Listen here as Roger Howse talks about 21st Century Blues

Roger Howse, Newfoundland and Labrador blues guitarist extraordinaire, has been through times good and bad in recent years, and he documents it all in his new album, 21st Century Blues. 13:41

With his performing life on hold, Howse said he wants to let his fans in Newfoundland and Labrador and beyond know that he's thinking of them.

"I miss them," said Howse.

"It would be great to get home to play again."

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About the Author

Heather Barrett is the host and producer of Weekend AM on CBC Radio One in Newfoundland and Labrador.