Review by Paul Monkhouse for MPM
Released on the legendary Sun Records label, ‘Midnight Rose’ is Paul Rodgers first solo album of original material since 2000, the singer finding the perfect home for his honeyed tones.
Comprising eight songs, the album speaks more of the elder statesman of blues rock, rather than the wild long-haired youth who first found fame with Free.
Whilst the music may be a little more mellow, that incredible voice is still as compelling as ever, healthy living and judicial touring combatting the rigours and damage that some of his peers have fallen to.
With production duties handled by Bob Rock and Rodgers wife Cynthia, the release purrs rather than roars but the glorious layers and classy song writing more than make up for any lack of bombast.
Having written the songs on an acoustic guitar during the global lockdown, this was inherently going to be a more measured set of material, giving it all a chance to breathe.
Whilst the blues is very much in evidence as witnessed by boisterous opener ‘Coming Home’, it’s with the soulful and earthy title track that Rodgers finds his touchstone, its touches of Americana more in line with Tom Petty and John Mellencamp than his beloved Muddy Waters.
It would be far from the truth to say that the singer is content to sit on a porch in a rocking chair, ‘Living It Up’ a ballsy travelog with a distinct swing and ‘Photo Shooter’ shimmers and vibrates with barely suppressed electricity proving there’s still fire in his belly.
This though is mainly an album to be enjoyed on those languorous evenings as Summer slowly gives way to Autumn, the glow of ‘Dance in the Sun’ and feelgood vibes of ‘Take Love’ sure to warm as the air cools.
The fine closing pairing of ‘Highway Robber’ and ‘Melting’ highlight some of the best of the album, the blend of multi-faceted instrumentation and the depth of soul that only Rodgers can bring to a song worthy of the price of admission alone.
It would be wrong to expect something akin to Free, Bad Company or The Firm but, as his time with Queen illustrated, there’s few singers out there who have such a vice-like grip on their craft, understanding how to mould the material to its finest form. A cause for celebration, Paul Rodgers is back doing what he was born for and there’s none finer.
Midnight Rose Track Listing
All songs written by Rodgers with the exception of “Living It Up.”
- “Coming Home”
- “Photo Shooter”
- “Midnight Rose”
- “Living It Up” (Rodgers, Ronning, Fedyk)
- “Dance in the Sun”
- “Take Love”
- “Highway Robber”
The official Facebook page of Paul Rodgers
Pre-save and order Midnight Rose album and special merchandise HERE.