Pay Me, the new single by the Montreal based artist Sweet Roger, is a surly blues and folk song reminiscent of early 20th century outliers who sang in rough and coarse overtones speaking of hardships, travels, and cursed relationships. Entirely acoustic, this raw recording inspired by century old Travis pickin’ guitar licks feels refreshingly new in this modern, digitized landscape. Sweet Roger finds relevance for folksy themes and imagery in an advanced age where we continue to struggle and search for solace.
Pay Me is the first instalment to Sweet Roger’s upcoming follow-up record to his debut album, You’ll Always Have Yourself. While the debut seamlessly spun folk, Americana, and alternative influences into lush arrangements, Sweet Roger dives deeper into the roots of his inspirations with Pay Me and hones in on his guitar playing while underscoring his unadorned, poignant lyrics. At the beginning of the lockdown in 2020, Sweet Roger decided to use the downtime to experiment with an entirely independent endeavour and swapped out the comforts and sophistications of a professional studio for a completely solitary, homespun recording. No producer. No band. Just the artist. The result: Pay Me captures the unsettling mood of the times with a defiant performance of raw vocals and growly acoustics driven by a solid rhythm that exultantly powers us forward.
The path leading up to this artist’s breakthrough is very unconventional. After many years of roaming from one Canadian town to the next, working odd jobs and writing tunes in between, Sweet Roger walked the straight path into university and came out with two degrees. He eventually landed a teaching position at a local college, and just when everything seemed to settle into a long career ahead, Sweet Roger did the unthinkable. He quit it all.
It’s been years now that Sweet Roger gave up a teaching position at a local college and found a job shucking oysters in Old Montreal to make money while he played gigs wherever they could be found around town. The work, the struggle, and the dark hours gave ample inspiration for songs that truly tell stories of love and loss. Picking up some momentum after releasing his debut album (including a TIMA nomination for Best Folk/Roots Song) and building his audience, Sweet Roger returns now with new material that has even more provocation and edge, an audible swagger that is both scrappy and sympathetic.