It’s not easy for singer/songwriter Scott Rotge to categorize the music he plays and writes. It grows out of a wide range of influences, but it’s firmly rooted in American tradition.
“I guess you’d call what I play Americana, or maybe Americana rock,” he says. “My influences are everybody from Johnny Cash to Matchbox20.”
The common characteristic of the musicians who’ve inspired Rotge is a sincerity that comes through in the songs they sing.
“I like people whose soul you can feel in their music,” Rotge says of the trait that links diverse artists as diverse. “The way they sing, you can really feel what they’re into.”
Rotge tries to bring the same kind of authenticity to his own music, and he’s been honing his craft for the better part of two decades. It all began when a family member needed help, and Rotge’s way of helping out also helped to launch his own musical career.
“My whole family is musicians, and I’d been playing guitar all along,” he recalls. “But I really got started playing seriously when I was 20 and my cousin was diagnosed with cancer. I got up and played for a fundraiser for her in Kerrville, and I went from there. That was back in 2001, and that’s what got me playing seriously.”
Rotge has worked hard since then, writing and playing when he can. He’s played solo and with his band, and he’s had a night or two that would make any musician’s highlight reel, like when he opened for Chris Knight in El Campo.
It’s not all just about playing live, though. Rotge also devotes his energy to writing and recording, and he’s got a major project in the process right now.
“I’m working on an album with my band—we just go by my last name, Rotge—that will be called Falling Faster, and that should be out in, I’d say, three to six months,” he says.
Rotge has a special fondness for playing at the Hunt Store, where the unique atmosphere is as much fun for the musicians as it is for the audience.
“Playing at the Hunt Store is always a great time,” he says. “People always listen when you play there, and the nostalgia and atmosphere make it a really different place to play. You walk out back, and there’s a sort of beer garden and fire pits around. There are kids playing and families. Everybody’s having a great time, and it’s kind of like Luckenbach.”
If there’s one thing about the venue that makes it really special for Rotge, it’s that it’s not the kind of place where anyone feels unwelcome.
“The best part of it is that there are all types of people there,” he says. “You can be standing there, and there’s a millionaire on one side of you and a guy who makes $20,000 a year on the other side. But everybody’s having fun, and everybody gets along.”