Paul Rodgers: Album 'like coming full circle'

Paul Rodgers (WENN.COM)

Paul Rodgers (WENN.COM)

Jane Stevenson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:14 PM ET

"It's a long way from Middlesbrough to Memphis but I made the pilgrimage."

British singer-songwriter Paul Rodgers of Free, Bad Company, The Firm - and sometimes Queen - fame, is talking about his new solo album of Memphis-recorded blues and soul covers, The Royal Sessions, released in Canada on Jan. 28, to be followed by a April-May tour in the U.S.

Rodgers says it was inevitable he would make a record that includes such classics as Thank You, I Can’t Stand the Rain, and I’ve Been Loving You.

“When I first started out I listened to this music and blues - it was very strongly influential,” said Rogers, 64. “I’ve carried it with me. All the bands and the music I’ve created really, if I stop and think about it, I have to admit it comes from here, from this soul music and blues music. So when we did Bad Company and The Firm, all the songs seem to relate back to it. Somebody said it’s like coming full circle. And there’s some truth in that.”

We caught up with Rodgers down the line from Palm Springs, Calif., to talk about his song picks for The Royal Sessions and his status with Queen.

Was it tough to narrow the record down to just 10 songs?

I think I chose a selection of about 20-25 songs from which we would choose. And each day I would get up and I would decide on the day which song felt right today. So to that extent it was very spontaneous... One of the songs particularly, I’ve Been Loving You Too Long, is a song that I have never actually sung until that day with those guys in the studio. And I just said, ‘Let’s just give that one a try.’ And I was nervous about it because it’s such an iconic, big Otis Redding song... I thought, ‘Wow, I don’t even know if I can do this but I’m going to try’... And we just kind of launched ourselves into it to see where it would take us and it was an incredible ride. At the end of it, we all went, ‘Phewww, where have we just been?’ And that was done in one take. Just like that.

How will these covers take shape in a live setting?

I would love to do an iconic club, say for instance in Memphis, and video it and record it for a DVD, that would be really nice... I only play a number of shows each year so I can enjoy the wonders of Canada’s wilderness. That’s why I love Canada more than anywhere in the world. It’s very English in some respects but I don’t feel far from home all the time. Also, there’s lots of space and it’s beautiful.

Do you feel like you’re done with Queen since parting ways with them in 2009?

I felt great about doing Queen while we were doing it and we were together for four years and we toured the world a couple of times I believe and we played the most amazing places. I think in Liechtenstein, somewhere in East Europe, I think, we had the king come up and play the drums in (Free’s) All Right Now. I said, ‘Wait ‘til we tell the folks back home.’ It was really good. And we recorded live DVDs and CDs and we finished with a studio album with original songs and I felt at that point that I had done everything I wanted to do up ‘til now with Queen and left it on that note.

So do you think that part of your musical life is over?

If they were to do a charity or something of that nature, they could call me... The best gig we ever did, in my opinion, was in Vancouver when we played there. Everything absolutely came together.

 


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