You may not know his name, but if you’re a fan of 90s country music, you’ve definitely heard his songs.
Roger Springer is the writer behind “It’s A Little Too Late,” “Let It Rain,” and “Thank God for Believers,” all of which were top 10 hits for Mark Chesnutt, as well as “Matches,” which was a top 25 hit for Sammy Kershaw.
Springer also released a handful of singles to country radio in the 90s, as well as an album with the Roger Springer Band, which saw Springer singing a duet with one of his heroes, Merle Haggard.
Springer, who also lists George Jones as one of his biggest inspirations, began his quest into music at a young age.
“I started writing songs around 15 years old. Not sure why at that age, I didn’t know anybody else who wrote songs,” says Springer. “It was just in me. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I knew I wanted to write for a living.”
Springer moved to Nashville in 1989 to pursue a career in music. He began writing with hit songwriter Robert Ellis Orrall (“Next to You, Next to Me”, “What’s It to You”) and came on to the radar of MCA Records, who signed him to his first record deal in 1991.
Springer released his first single, “The Right One Left” in 1992. Although it only peaked at 69 on the country charts, it was the time Springer heard himself on the radio.
“Hearing myself on the radio was overwhelming at that time in my life,” says Springer. “Good memory.”
With the lack of success of “The Right One Left,” Springer and MCA Records parted ways. This provided him with a new direction for his career.
“For whatever reason, it just didn’t work with MCA,” says Springer. “After that, I decided that songwriting was the best path for me.”
Springer quickly signed with EMI Publishing, who immediately set him up with legend Vern Gosdin. Springer says he “rode the bus” with Gosdin for a few years, but his big break would come two years later.
“They put me on the bus with Mark Chesnutt in 1994,” says Springer. “Mark and I became lifelong friends and cowriters.”
One of the songs Chesnutt and Springer wrote together was “It’s A Little Too Late,” which went to number one for Chesnutt, and was Springer’s first number one as well.
Springer also co-wrote Chesnutt’s next two singles, “Let It Rain,” and “Thank God for Believers.”
The latter, Springer’s second and final number one to date, has become a song of strength for those who have beaten alcohol addiction.
“I had the first verse written, but I didn’t have a title yet. I sat down with Tim Johnson and played him the verse. He said ‘I’ve got the title, Thank God for Believers,’” says Springer. “We finished the song in an hour. I played it for Mark at a fish fry at my house and he said ‘That is my next single, I’m recording it.’”
Springer has heard from several people since “Believers” was released about how the song impacted them.
“Over the years, many people have told me the song had helped them stop drinking,” says Springer. “That means more to me than the money.”
Chesnutt has cut 29 songs that Springer has co-written to date.
“The reason I guess would be that we both grew up on the same music,” says Springer. “Our heroes were the same and it just worked.”
With the success he had found with Mark Chesnutt, Springer was offered another chance to record and release his own music.
“Doug Johnston from Giant Records came to me and asked me if I wanted to record another record,” says Springer. “He wanted me to put a country band together. So in 1999, we formed the Roger Springer Band.”
The Roger Springer Band released a self-titled album in July of 1999. The album’s first single, “Don’t Try to Find Me,” peaked at number 64 on the charts. The album’s next single, “Ain’t Nothing but a Cloud,” failed to chart.
Just as things began to get rolling with the Roger Springer Band, Springer came to the realization that his time on the road was affecting his family.
“I realized that I was fixing to be gone on the road even more than I had in the last 7 years,” says Springer. “My two sons, Kent and Keith, were 14 and 15. I knew they needed dad to be home and around them more than I needed to go sing, so I went in and ask to be dropped from Giant Records. Best move I ever made.”
Looking back, Springer appreciates the opportunity he was given with the Roger Springer Band.
“I am proud of the Roger Springer Band record because I got to record the kind of record I wanted to,” says Springer. “It was a great experience.”
Springer has not released any new music since the Roger Springer Band album, which he does not mind.
“I put recording artist out of my mind after 1999,” says Springer. “I would love to record one more record, just for myself someday of all western swing songs. Just to have for myself.”
Though his voice may not be on them, country fans have not stopped hearing his words. He has gotten cuts from Johnny Cash, Ray Price, Randy Travis, Kenny Rogers, and Easton Corbin, to name a few.
In all, he has had over 100 songs cut in his career. Though each is like a baby to him, he narrowed them down to two personal favorites.
“It’s hard to choose. I love all the songs that have been recorded,” says Springer. “But if I have to pick, there are two. “Matches” by Sammy Kershaw and “I Ain’t Never Seen No One Like You” by George Strait.
Springer has no plans of keeping his pen off of the paper, and is thankful for all he has accomplished in his career.
“I will always write songs until the good Lord decides it’s time for me to come home,” says Springer. “I sang a duet with Merle Haggard and so many others have cut my songs. I couldn’t ask for anything better”