An iconic Atlantic Canadian folk musician (though he was actually from Ontario and only had relatives in Atlantic Canada, this is basically forgotten these days) whose brief, brilliant career began in 1976, produced a number of albums, and was then cut short by his tragic death in an airplane accident in 1983.
He left behind an enduring legacy for the Canadian music scene, and a number of his songs ("Barrett's Privateers", "Northwest Passage", "The Mary Ellen Carter") have become national standards. "Northwest Passage" has been cited by prime ministers and governors general as an unofficial national anthem of sorts, and was voted the fourth-best Canadian song of all time in a CBC radio poll.
There is an annual music festival held in his honour in Cape Breton.
- Fogarty's Cove (1976)
- Turnaround (1978)
- Between the Breaks ... Live! (1979)
- Northwest Passage (1981)
- For the Family (1983, the first of five posthumous collections)
- From Fresh Water (1984, posthumous)
- Home in Halifax (1993, posthumous)
- Poetic Justice (1996, posthumous)
- From Coffee House to Concert Hall (1999, posthumous)
- Anti-Christmas Song: "First Christmas" isn't strictly anti-Christmas, but as Rogers believed Christmas was a time not just for celebration but for deep, sober reflection, it's depressing.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In "The Idiot", the narrator's complaints about his job out west are the desolate landscape, the refinery fumes, and the cowboy clothes they wear.
- Author Existence Failure: Who knows what else he might have done?
- Drinking On Duty / Drunk Driver: The captain in "The Mary Ellen Carter".
- Dying Town: "Fogarty's Cove" (jauntier than the others), "Finch's Complaint", "Make and Break Harbour", "The Field Behind the Plow", "Free in the Harbour", "Tiny Fish for Japan"...
- The narrator in "The Idiot" left one of these to work in a refinery out west.
- Fatal Family Photo: the kid has one in "White Squall".
- The Pioneer: "Northwest Passage"
- Sole Survivor: "I'm the last of Barrett's Privateers."
- Take That: Ontario's tourism industry came out with the slogan "No place you'd rather be." Stan's response, from Watching the Apples Grow:
Ontario, y'know, I've found the place I'd rather be;
Your scummy lakes and city of Toronto don't do a damn thing for me,
I'd rather live by the sea.
- War of 1812: "Billy Green" tells the story of the famous Billy Green the Scout who "helped defeat the Yank invaders". "MacDonnell on the Heights" tells of the Battle of Queenston Heights. "The Nancy" is about a skirmish between the crew of the titular ship and some American forces. "Barrett's Privateers" tells the story of a less lucky crew.