Though their creative paths long ran parallel in Nashville’s world-class bluegrass scene, a chance meeting between SteelDriver fiddling phenom Tammy Rogers and prolific songwriter and in-demand guitarist Thomm Jutz led to a fruitful songwriting relationship. Over the last five years, the pair has written nearly one song per week together—amassing a catalog of over 140 songs—and have just announced the release of the first harvest of tunes from these weekly sessions. On January 21, Rogers and Jutz will release Surely Will Be Singing, a twelve-song collection comprised of their favorite co-writes thus far. “We’d always talked about making a duo record,” Jutz says. “We started on some demos and when the pandemic hit, we were writing on Zoom. We both said the last thing we wanted was to say when this thing is over that we wasted a year sitting on the couch and watching TV, so let’s stay with it. And that’s what we did.” Rogers adds, “We’re both very serious about what we do but we’re also very easygoing in the way we approach things. That’s at the heart of how we write. We’re both willing to see where things naturally go. I love that because at the end of the day, we usually wind up with something I wouldn’t have come up with on my own.”
Today, Rogers and Jutz released another single from Surely Will Be Singing, “The Tree of Life.” “I’ve long been fascinated with the writing of Joseph Campbell,” says Jutz. “He talks about ‘the tree of life’ as the mythological tree from which Adam and Eve ate. By doing so, the concept of duality entered the world. The cross Jesus died on is 'the tree of life’ through which non-duality, through the achievement of the full potential of humanity, was restored. The Buddha found enlightenment under ‘the tree of life’. They died to the world but awoke to the spirit." Fans can hear “The Tree of Life” now at this link and pre-order or pre-save Surely Will Be Singing ahead of its January 21 release right here.
When Rogers was around 5 years old, her family moved from Rogersville, Tennessee, to Texas. Her father bought her a three-quarter size fiddle a few years later and it immediately became an extension of herself. Along with playing and touring with her family’s bluegrass band, she absorbed the music of her grandmother’s records whenever she’d travel back to Tennessee in the summertime. Among her earliest memories are listening to The Carter Family and seeing Mother Maybelle Carter and Sara Carter holding the guitars on the album cover – and once, as a young child, traveling to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, to hear Mother Maybelle play the autoharp.
Jutz’s pivotal moment came when he watched Bobby Bare singing “Detroit City” and “Tequila Sheila” on a German television show. That epiphany set him on a course of learning to play guitar and seeking out as many bluegrass and folk records as he could. After writing songs for the bands he formed in high school, Jutz began to study the craft. Following his lifelong dream, and inspired and encouraged by his mentor, songwriter Richard Dobson, Jutz moved to Nashville in 2003 and became a U.S. citizen in 2008.
In the years that followed, both musicians achieved remarkable success in Nashville’s diverse music community. Rogers landed her big break when she was hired to play fiddle in Patty Loveless’ band in 1990. Later in that decade, she co-founded one of Nashville’s earliest alt- country indie labels, Dead Reckoning Records. Now firmly established as a producer, musician, and songwriter, Jutz received his first Grammy nomination, in the Best Bluegrass Album category, for his 2020 set, To Live in Two Worlds, Vol. 1. He’s written or co-written innumerable bluegrass radio hits, recorded by artists like John Prine, Balsam Range, and The SteelDrivers.
Surely Will Be Singing Track list:
I Surely Will Be Singing
On Your Own
All Around My Cabin Door
A Writer’s Tear
About Last Night
Five Winters More To Come
There Ain’t Enough Time
The Tree of Life