The most Arizona of all Arizona musicians is telling me about his live-performance philosophy.
“You 100 percent need to read the room,” Roger Clyne says during a lull in his Great 48 photo shoot. Now in its fifth year, Great 48 is PHOENIX magazine’s yearly gang-profile of the Valley’s most remarkable citizens, from tech CEOs to teachers to one tequila-loving troubadour about to hit the studio for his 15th album of infectious Sonoran soul rock.
“We always customize our set lists for shows, to anticipate the energy,” Clyne continues. “But if it feels like the room is going a certain way, we’ll improvise, switch things up. Do different songs.”
And that’s why his band, Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers, remains an uncanny, cultish draw in Arizona and elsewhere. Touring bands generally stick to set lists. They don’t read a room so much as push through it.
“We [also] try to read the room, which in this case means delivering the lifestyle and news coverage a Valley consumer such as yourself might be specifically looking for come November and December.”
There’s a lesson there – and one that’s highly translatable to a city magazine like PHOENIX, I like to think. We also try to read the room, which in this case means delivering the lifestyle and news coverage a Valley consumer such as yourself might be specifically looking for come November and December.
Hopefully, your ambitions include some fall and winter hiking, because we’ve unleashed our resident trail guru, Mare Czinar, in a big way this issue. Nominally our production manager, Mare occasionally takes leave of her day job to provide our readers with the best, most learned hiking journalism in Arizona. And so it goes with Hikes, Honky-Tonks and Hangouts, her rambunctious roundup of eight Valley hikes, along with places to do and things to drink afterward. It’s a second cover story, really – 16 pages of quad-stomping fun that should keep you busy through the holidays.
Speaking of the holidays, managing editor Leah LeMoine is back with the annual, all-local PHOENIX Gift Guide, her incomparable catalogue of Arizona-made fashion, products and experiences, tailored for holiday giving. I don’t use the term “incomparable” fliply – it’s a joyous package, and there’s nothing else in Greater Phoenix quite like it.
You’ll find an unusually strong thread of holiday content in this issue, in fact. As Leah said recently, “After this summer, we need it.”
The November/December of PHOENIX also includes our annual list of the Valley’s Best New Restaurants of 2023, holiday events coverage and other gewgaws tailored to your end-of-year needs.
And it has Great 48, which we included because, well, when do you not want to read about interesting and inspiring fellow Phoenicians?
Some old hits suit any room.