Paul Rodgers recently released his first solo album in nearly 25 years, “Midnight Rose.” We caught up with Paul by Zoom to talk the album. Paul had actually asked me about what my favorite track was on the album, before we began recording. I told him it was the title track “Midnight Rose.” Once we started recording, I began our conversation by asking Paul about the lyrics of the song that really stood out “We are not alone.” When asked if that was a message and what it meant Paul told me “It almost gets spiritual.” He spoke about how we are all feeling a bit isolated these days and he wanted the album to have a positive message. He said that he believes if you reach out into the universe “for whatever you need there will be an answer.”
From there we spoke about how Paul has been sharing recently about his health struggles. Paul mentioned how he didn’t want to share about having had a stroke and “Poor me.” He said, “I wanted to get something done before I made any kind of public announcement.” Paul said it changed his life, not being able to speak, write, read or walk. He shared about some treatments he underwent. He spoke about it being all there but not being able to express it. Paul talked about taking for granted the connection in our brain from what we want to say to what comes out of our mouth.
Paul told me about meeting Levi Stubbs of The Four Tops after he had a stroke. Paul felt the way to communicate with him was through song. Paul then sang a line of “The Long And Winding Road” acapella. Explaining that’s how what he did with Levi. That was the first of a few times during our conversation that Paul sang.
Paul agreed that making “Midnight Rose” was a celebration. We spoke about tracks on the album with so many positive titles like “Take Love”, “Coming Home”, “Dance In The Sun” and “Living It Up.” Paul said making the album was part of his healing process. He said he got all the band in one room and played what started as acoustic songs and how they developed. He mentioned “Coming Home” being the first song they did. Paul said how great it felt. Then he mentioned all the studios where they worked and so many of the players and people involved.
It was about this time that Paul’s wife Cynthia spoke up, mentioning the album was mastered by Bob Ludwig. I invited Cynthia to sit down and join us. She was busy with her “Morning chores” so only spoke with us a little bit off camera. Cynthia shared about what she heard listening to the title track and asking about it. She spoke about Bob Rock getting involved from there. Cynthia said Bob Rock said he had trained his entire career to work with Paul Rodgers. Cynthia spoke about her idea that on “Melting,” “The last thing the fans hear was Paul’s voice acapella.”
We discussed that even with all the acoustic and acapella aspects, this is a Rock album. We delved into Paul and his influences here, especially in Blues and Soul and how they played a part in the album and specifically the track “Living It Up.” Paul talked about the song being a tribute to American music, also mentioning Country and Jazz.
I asked Paul, why make an album now. He said when he went into the studio, they weren’t thinking they were making an album. The idea was to just play the songs that were acoustic at that point and see where it went. Paul said that Sun Records expressed interest, even when he said he was just in the studio jamming. He said that was a great boost. He talked about the labels legacy and how proud he is to be on the label.
I asked Paul with all his legendary influences, if he was comfortable with people looking at him as the legend that influences them. He expressed that he isn’t comfortable with that. He said he is shy and just wants to do his thing. Then he spoke about Ray Charles, Otis Redding, and Aretha Franklin. He even did some more singing at this point.
We even spoke about if there would be a tour coming. Paul spoke about that everybody seems to be asking that. His health certainly comes first when it comes to that question. As of right now, there are no plans to tour.
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