Enthusiasts of guitar music worldwide have become familiar with Roger Hudson’s work. Whether it is a fresh, easy-to-play composition such as Rainy Scene, or the challenging Delta, Roger’s original style always communicates sincerity and excitement. His concerts may include influences of Blues, Jazz, Classical as well as Brazilian and Mediterranean styles; all the while maintaining a high level of technical virtuosity and musicality. Roger’s playing gives the listener the sensation that there is more that one guitar – or perhaps even another instrument – on the stage!
In recent years Roger Hudson has become well-known for his Fingerstyle Basics columns that have appeared over 20 issues of Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine. He has also enjoyed popularity with students and advanced performers through his growing catalog of compositions offered by Mel Bay Publications. His numerous radio and TV appearances have included Public Radio and The Martha Stewart Show.
As a composer, Roger Hudson receives commissions ranging from pop songwriting to commercial media to works for orchestra. His 30 years as a music educator has included instruction in composition, arranging and music theory as well as guitar playing. Lately he has mystified curious audiences with his exploration into the music of the Turkish oud, also known as the Arabic lute. Roger’s life continues to be a musical journey.
Roger Hudson was born into a musical family in Falls Church, Virginia (suburban Washington D.C.). He grew up hearing the sounds of singing, harmonica, flute, piano, banjo, fiddle and guitar. It was the sound of the guitar that intrigued Roger the most. His first chords and notes on the guitar where made around age 5 - pretending to be one of The Beatles. At age 12 Roger began to imitate the high-amplitude bluesy sounds of Eric Clapton, Duane Allman and Jimi Hendrix during rock music’s “Golden Age” of guitar heroes. It was also at this time, he began to develop his composing skills. By his high school years, Roger became a proponent of the energetic jazz fusion of Jeff Beck, Al Dimeola, and John McLaughlin as well as cultivating an interest in progressive rock and art music. In the 60’s and 70’s Washington D.C. was a haven for classical guitar at a time when that style of playing was relatively unknown in the U.S. Roger was made aware of local guitarists such as Sophocles Papas, Charlie Byrd, and the recordings of international figures like Andres Segovia and Julian Bream.
Although having great affection for the guitar, it was his desire to be a composer that eventually led Roger to study the classical guitar. His classical teachers have included Fred Sabback, Christopher Berg, John Sutherland and Christopher Parkening. As a composer, Roger is primarily self-taught but holds a Master’s degree in Music Theory from Georgia State University. Roger’s composing abilities have led to accolades from legendary figures. Chet Atkins spoke of Roger’s “great compositions”. The illustrious guitarist/composer Jorge Morel has characterized Roger’s work as “a style all his own”.
Although Roger Hudson’s fingerstyle solo guitar work embodies solid classical technique, his repertoire encompasses a broader scope. His concerts offer music that holds an accessible, entertaining and less academic appeal. Roger holds the audience’s taste in high regard, and composes music that is intended to be enjoyed by guitar music experts as well general audiences. Hudson’s approach was forged by years of performing for the general public at resorts and private functions in addition to solo concerts.
Through the years many of his compositions were first introduced in casual surroundings. His, then new and unfamiliar pieces were often received with great enthusiasm and interest. It was the approval of these “regular folk” as well as seasoned professionals who gave him the confidence to continue composing.
Many of his pieces can be described as holding a pleasant, neo-Impressionist or American Impressionist character. He has never abandoned his American roots and Hudson’s compositions are flavored with Blues, Jazz, and the varied influences of his youth. The incorporation of these honest influences holds relevance and familiarity for listeners while maintaining Roger’s unique style. Even his arrangements of familiar tunes such as Paul Desmond’s Take Five or Appalachian hymns take on a distinctive character.
Recording and Publishing
Roger has released 3 CDs of original guitar music and one Christmas collection. . Upon reviewing Hudson’s debut recording Guitarchitecture (1994), the journal Soundboard spoke of “many gorgeous moments”. These 12 original solos went on to be published by Mel Bay Publications as the book/CD combo The Guitar Collection of Roger Hudson.
Guitar Peace (2004) is a collection of tranquil lullabies and meditative guitar solos that is especially popular with young parents. The latest CD entitled Delta (2009) is a long-awaited collection of Roger’s showpieces that have been enjoyed by guitarists and audiences for many years but had previously been unrecorded. Back in the 90’s Roger recorded 2 CDs of beautiful hymn arrangements with Pamplin Records as part of their popular Simplicity series. Roger also has to his credit several pieces for orchestra, choir, chamber ensembles as well as a guitar concerto. Strings of Light is a Christmas music classic that never goes out of style.
Roger’s Fingerstyle Basics column featured in over 20 issues of Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine have made him popular with guitarists worldwide. These successful articles offer short, easy-to-play Hudson originals presented with a relaxed instructional writing style. Each Fingerstyle Basics piece is performed by Roger on FG’s accompanying CD.
Books by Roger Hudson
The Guitar Collection of Roger Hudson (Mel Bay, 2000)
Guitar Peace (Roger Hudson Music, 2004, Mel Bay, t.b.r. 2009)
Books (compilations including Roger’s music)
Fingerpicking Guitar 2000 (Mel Bay, 2000)
Blues Guitar 2000 (Mel Bay, 2000)
Jazz Guitar 2000 (Mel Bay 2000)
The Contemporary Guitar: An Anthology of New Music (Mel Bay 2001)
Graded Repertoire for Guitar, Book 1 (Mel Bay 2000)
Graded Repertoire for Guitar, Book 2 (Mel Bay 2000)
Master Anthology of New Classic Guitar Solos (Mel Bay 2005)
Guitarchitecture (Tikal 1994)
Strings of Light (Tikal 1994)
Simplicity Vol. 2 (Pamplin 1997)
Simplicity Vol. 8 (Pamplin 1997)
Guitar Peace (Acoustic America, 2004)
Delta (Roger Hudson Music, 2009)
Bella Musiqa - Mediterranean Music Ensemble (Roger Hudson Music, 2009)
Roger as Session Guitarist or in Collaborations
Mission: Impossible – electric guitar - (Intersound, 1996)
The Music of Linda Ronstadt – electric guitar - (Intersound, 1997)
Aida – “Written in the Stars” Elton John and Leann Rimes (Rocket 1999)
Roger’s Music performed by other artists
Bill Piburn CD: Cuna de Navidad, (Musicmasters, 1999) Cuna de Navidad (Hudson)
Todd Hallawell CD: From Nashville and Back (2003) w/Roger on guitar and baritone guitar on Undersea (Hudson) and Rialto Ripples (Gershwin)
Hanser-McClellan Duo CD: La Vida Breve (2002) – Undersea (Hudson)