Jade Wright chats with Paul Carrack as his new album is released and he hits the road for Liverpool.
HE’S a label owner, recording artist, songwriter and producer. He’s played in bands and as a solo artist. You could call Paul Carrack a renaissance man but he’s far too self-effacing to agree.
Instead, he puts all his effort into making music, including Good Feeling, his latest album.
“After we did the tour last year, I more or less just ploughed straight into getting this album done,” says Paul. “I’d made a start on it before that, but it feels good having it all done and dusted and under my belt.
“Doing something completely different like the orchestral album helped. That was very mellow and downbeat, so coming back to my normal way of doing things, I wanted it to be upbeat, and it felt that, and very fresh.”
The follow-up to 2010’s A Different Hat (his collection of vocal performances accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra), it was produced by Paul himself and he plays most of the instruments on it, although his son Jack, now a member of his band, joins him on drums.
“I swear I’ll never do it again each time,” he laughs. “But gradually, because I play a bit of everything, I start building up the tracks and the next thing I know, I’m doing the bloody lot!”
Across four decades he’s created some huge hits – Ace’s How Long, Mike & the Mechanics’ The Living Years, Over My Shoulder and Silent Running Squeeze’s Tempted and solo favourites Satisfy My Soul, I Live On A Battlefield and Eyes Of Blue.
He’s collaborated with an eclectic list of legends – from The Eagles to Roger Waters, and Ringo Starr to BB King.
His music always has a certain soulfulness to it.
“A lot of it’s in the mix,” he says. “Things hang together somehow in a certain balance, it’s not very scientific, it’s all done on feel.
“The lad who’s been helping me with this last album, Rupert Cobb, seems to have a handle on what I’m trying to do, he keeps it earthy. I’m glad that comes over.”
Paul’s inspirations come from many quarters, but eventually all roads lead back to the soul music he fell in love with, growing up in Sheffield. Stax, Atlantic and Motown loomed large.
“It was all of them,” he says. “Whatever was getting played in the clubs or dancehalls, but Motown I did like. David Ruffin is probably my all-time favourite.
“I would say probably Stevie Wonder as well. I love his early stuff, but Talking Book was a mind-blower for me.”
He’s come a long way since those early days in Sheffield.
“It’s all been good,” he muses. “Certainly a lot better than the alternative, which I dread to think what it would have been, if I’d stayed in Sheffield and got a proper job.”
PAUL CARRACK plays the Philharmonic Hall on February 8.