There isn’t much that Paul Rodgers ( Free, Bad Company, & The Firm) hasn’t covered in his musical career spanning over 4 decades, but his latest release is a pleasant surprise in it’s soulful R&B roots with the right mix of blues to boot.
From the groove-laden opening track ‘I Thank You’, Rodgers proves he still has the voice that shot him to prominence and it sounds completely at home as he showcases his vocal range and connection with the best musicians Memphis has to offer. His version of ‘I Can’t Stand The Rain’ is smooth as silk, and exudes a coolness much like the rest of the album which, much like Rodgers himself, has a strong Otis Redding influence.
‘The Royal Sessions’ is not though, an indulgent exercise from an ageing rocker trying to remain relevant, but is a testament both to Rodgers brilliance as a singer and the spiritual journey he has undertaken to come to this point. The Royal Singers add much to this story with their gospel choir like backing, and the assembly of more than 20 musicians completely deliver a part of their soul on every note.
The final song on the album Otis Redding’s ‘Dreams to Remember‘ is a perfect way to finish up the album, with the dulcet tones of the Royal Singers once again adding to the multi faceted story of Delta Blues and gospel music. Paul Rodgers has come full circle with ‘The Royal Sessions’ and returned to the style that defined him. There’s no doubt that this album is a winner, and one that can be enjoyed in a range of occasions.
THE ROYAL SESSIONS was released Friday, 7 February 2014 on 429 Records through Universal Music Australia.