Environmentalist, activist, guitarist and singer-songwriter, Paul J Rogers is an Australian artist sharing some important messages with the world. Based in Brisbane, but hailing from the south-eastern suburbs of Sydney, Rogers began playing the guitar drawing on the sounds of U2, Midnight Oil and INXS. While he gained success with 1990s group Real Life Exit, he decided to withdraw from the music scene and start a family in the 2000s. Embracing his interest in environmentalism and social justice, Rogers obtained a degree in Political Science and International Studies before pursuing a solo music career in 2014.
From 2014-2016, Rogers released several instrumental tracks and the instrumental soundtrack The Reckoning. In 2018, he released a folk-rock EP Two Shows – Fireside capturing the attention of Grammy award-winning producers. In 2019, Rogers showed his flexibility moving from folk-rock to alt-rock in his singles ‘Coffin Groom’ and ‘Don’t Place Me In The Past’. However, his true interest come to life in the latest environmentalist singles ‘Who’ll Stop The People’ and ‘Planet In Pain’.
Compelling and captivating, ‘Planet In Pain’ is a painfully honest single touching on the effect of climate change in modern society. Written as a narrative from the Earth Goddess Gaia, ‘Planet In Pain’ illustrates the frustration, desperation, despair and concern to “clean up this mess.” Yet, it is not only the lyrics that capture your attention but more the melody underlying Rogers spoken word. Lying somewhere between Chris Isaak and U2, Paul J Rogers adopts a simple combination of guitar and engaging vocals. In fact, it might be this simplicity that enhances the poignancy of his Leonard Cohen-esque style.
What really touches my heart is the final verses spoken without any backing instrumentation. It is not only the words, but the relevancy of the lyrics – “send suffering to millions and the profits to few…and when the West Wing brings its reckoning, we’re left with wearing masks”. I am unsure whether this was intended to discuss 2020’s sociopolitical situation, but these few lines definitely sent shivers down my spine.