Inspiration can come from anywhere. For Sweet Roger it was a combination of a early-country blues listening kick and the chance find of a photograph at a Los Angeles flea market. The picture showed a man leaning against a dead tree, counting money. Turns out there was a simple story here – the fellow made a wage by cutting down and removing dead trees.
For Sweet Roger it led to a song that mused on the nature of work and remuneration, as he explained “This song speaks to the history of labour, work for hire and remuneration. It’s a story of someone who has managed to survive and possibly even thrive in this world despite its harshness. Does that make him cunning and savvy? Does it make him immoral? Is he a survivalist or an opportunist? I love the ambiguity here. I welcome you to draw your own conclusion.”
Photo: Jim Harris.