Tim Rogers’ new solo album tells the story of an elderly actor retiring from the stage.
And certainly, there are allusions to an aged thespian looking back on their life, starting with opener The Bug and its references to treading the boards and backstage routines. But then, these are also references that could be applied to Rogers’ life fronting You Am I and as a solo artist. In fact, so personal an album is this, and so soaked in experience are its beautifully vivid lyrics, that it could just as well be a record about a musician who’s turned 47 taking stock of his life, and trying to let go of any unnecessary baggage.
Take The Umpire’s Son, for example, as Rogers sings “the umpire’s son can act limp as a cadaver, or light up the room like a candelabra, depending on the crowd or the decision of his dad”. Rogers’ should know: his father was indeed a football umpire.
An Actor Repairs is a largely acoustic affair, and instrumentally diverse: saxophone, piano, double bass, violin, guitar and clarinet vie harmoniously for the spotlight, a reflection of the fact that it was originally envisioned as a stage musical. Rogers’ main foil on the album is violinist and singer Xani Kolac, who steals the show on heartbreaking duet “One More Late Night Phone Conversation”.
If the final third of the album isn’t quite as engaging as what’s come before, one thing that never falters is Rogers’ lyrics. An Actor Repairs may well be one of his finest lyrical statements, so beautifully does he capture the spectre of ageing and of a life entering its final phase.
If this is what we can expect from Rogers as he faces down middle age, then bring it on.