BitterWater band to play at The Destination

·5 min read

Aug. 5—Probably not many bands in the area have gone through the same number of transitions and obstacles as The BitterWater Band.

But nearly four years after the group's founding, the local band has found itself on stable ground as the group of four members continues its normal schedule of gigs around not only the Permian Basin but also all over Texas and New Mexico.

BitterWater will continue its performance schedule by returning to The Destination for a performance scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday in Midland.

The band was founded by Jeffery Rodgers and his son Caleb Rodgers back in 2018.

"(Caleb) was playing a lot of guitar and I was writing," Jeffery said. "I got to talking to him one day and was like 'hey, why don't you play guitar for me for a little while and we'll put some rhythms behind the stuff that I've written and we'll see how it works out. That's kind of how it all started."

As the band got started, there were normal growing pains and Jeffery said that included a few mistakes.

"For me, I like to do everything fast," Rodgers said. "My wife was telling me that I run through everything and make mistakes and learn from those mistakes and grow really fast. It's painful because you run through it pretty fast but you get further down the road much quicker than everybody else. That's basically what we did."

Rodgers would look for other members including a bass guitar player and drummer but he described the process as "hit and miss."

"We didn't know any other musicians from around the area," Rodgers said. "So we started going to music stores and reaching out to other folks."

He eventually found a bass player in Andrew Carey. Jeffery, Caleb and Carey all came together and started working on some of the original songs that Jeffery had written.

Occasionally, the band would add a new member here or there.

"It just didn't work," Rodgers said. "It's a crazy world with music and everything. There are a lot of characters out there. We went through a lot of folks like that who had different ideas or they'd be really on fire for what we were doing and then never hear from them again. It would disappear off the radar. It went on like that for about two years."

Carey would eventually join Treaty Oak Revival and the band continued to see new members come and go.

"I was feeling pretty defeated," Rodgers said. "I was thinking 'man, I'm never going to get this band together' and find the guys that will go the distance and have the same drive and passion that I have. It got pretty dark there."

That darkness only lasted about a week.

Around this time last year, Jeffery reached out to Jeff Derby and it wasn't long before the drummer came in on a permanent position.

"I'm liking the fact that we have the freedom to create our own West Texas style of country," Derby said. "It's a lot of rock 'n roll, a little country, a little jazz and it's fun being in a band where you can experiment and try different things. We have some endings that are pretty intense and I really like that. It's great having the ability to do that with these guys."

Then Derby called guitarist Mike Camden and soon a new backbone for BitterWater had been formed.

"I'm enjoying it," Camden said of his time with BitterWater. "It's been a blast. It's been kind of a whirlwind. It's blown up so much so fast. It's incredible. Once we picked up our producer Matt Smith, he's been a huge amount of help. He knows how to pick things apart and how to break the rules but make everything still sound good."

However, not before another change as Jeffery said Caleb would soon drop out of the band to take a job in the oil fields.

But his son remains in the background.

"He's always cheering us on," Jeffery said. "Every now and then, he'll give us a call and say 'hey, I wrote this rhythm' and we'll collaborate on some stuff. He's always there in the background. I wish we had him back full time but he's making lots of money in the oil field and being that guy."

David Segovia would soon join on bass guitar.

Since then, the band has been able to play at numerous gigs throughout the area and beyond.

"Well, we usually like to play every weekend, anywhere from Lubbock to Dallas to Oklahoma City to San Antonio," Jeffery said. "We're trying to move out and spread out. Right now, it's just Midland, Odessa, Big Spring. We're playing a show in Ruidoso, N.M. on September 17. They're doing a big benefit and we're playing with a lot of other bands. We're excited about that."

Camden talked about how the group gets to experiment when it comes to writing.

"As far as writing the songs, I've been getting to experiment with a lot of different techniques and things like that," Camden said. "Writing guitar solos and putting things together has been one of my favorite parts."

The group is looking forward to playing at this week's gig in Midland.

"Playing at The Destination, it's a living art exhibit that you can walk through and sit on and have a beer," Derby said. "It just has this wonderful vibe of being inside but you're outside ... it's a brilliant venue. It's my favorite."

If you go

— What: The BitterWater Band.

— When: 8 p.m. Saturday.

— Where: The Destination.