THE man whom the BBC dubbed ‘The Man With The Golden Voice’, Paul Carrack, is currently touring the UK enchanting audiences with his soulful style of music.
The man who gave us ‘How Long’ in the Seventies with his band Ace, has since been a part of Squeeze (he replaced Jools Holland on keyboards and was lead vocalist – and writer – on ‘Tempted’), he also joined Roxy Music for a while.
He was then an integral part of Mike + The Mechanics, and it is his voice we hear on the sublime ‘Living Years’ and ‘Over My Shoulder’.
These days, he is mainly a solo performer, but is still in demand by the very best in music.
“After my tour, I’m doing a tour of Japan with Eric Clapton,” the Sheffield-born musician tells me.
“I’ve toured with Eric many times, and he even though he isn’t touring as much nowadays, he has a particular affinity with Japan. I love touring with him and Japan is a very interesting place.”
Carrack tours the UK every year and they are always extensive tours, the current one has almost three dozen shows, but Paul doesn’t get tired of heading out around the country, as he explains.
“Well, I don’t get tired of touring, but I do get tired when I tour ‘cos it’s hard work. It’s physically demanding and you have to look after yourself.”
“But I’m enjoying it more than ever. I get standing ovations every night and you never get tired of that,” he says smiling.
“Each tour seems to be better than the last.”
In a recent documentary, the BBC dubbed Carrack ‘The Man With The Golden Voice’.
“I thought it was a bit embarrassing really,” he says. “It’s not a moniker I’d give myself, I wouldn’t be so presumptuous. But it could be worse,” he laughs. “They could have called me ‘the man with the rubbish voice’.”
Humility is a description that could sum Paul up. He is not a superstar by being hyped, he has managed it through sheer hard work and talent, and he appears to be humble about his own achievements.
When asked what he is most proud of in his career, he answers.
“I’m not proud of anything as such,” he explains simply. “I get on with what I do and try to improve.”
“Proud is not the right word,” he continues, “I feel good that I’ve had a long career and that I’m still going. But it’s nice to have a few hits under your belt and some nice stories to tell and to have played with some great artists, so what’s not to like?”
Fans of Carrack’s solo work to learn that he has a new album out, titled ‘Soul Shadows’, and he is very pleased with it.”
“Yes, I recorded it mainly with my son Jack at my new studio, which is a lovely place to work. Not long ago it was just a garage.”
“I think the new album is as good if not better than anything I’ve done,” he says.
“And that seems to be the general consensus. I don’t aim my music at the critics – it’s for the fans and myself.”
And the reviews have been good.
“As I said, I don’t do stuff for the critics and I try to avoid the reviews, but,” he adds laughing, “I don’t mind reading the good ones, and they’ve been incredible.
“It’s already been ‘Album of the Week’ on Radio 2 and the single ‘Keep On Loving You’ has been A-listed. People who like what I do will be pleased with it.”
And will the album feature a lot on the tour?
“We’ll be playing a fair bit, say five or six songs, but we’re always mindful that we have to keep a balance.
“The new songs have been going down well on the tour, but the people pay their money and have a right to expect the songs that they know and love, so it’s a case of striking the right balance.”
What else can we expect to hear?
“Luckily I’ve been able to play and sing on some great songs and amongst those will be ‘How Long’, ‘Tempted’, ‘Living Years’, ‘Over My Shoulder’ and ‘Eyes of Blue’ which was one of my solo hits.”
Carrack is also a respected songwriter and one of his songs will have added poignancy this time around.
A couple of his compositions were recorded by The Eagles, and with the recent passing of Glenn Frey, I wondered if Paul will still perform the song as a tribute.
“We usually play ‘Love Will Keep Us Alive’, and it’s not a bad thing to have a song recorded by The Eagles. Yes, it will be a bit poignant.
“Glenn was a smashing and friendly guy, but I’m afraid I didn’t know him all that well. I was more close to Timothy B Schmidt, but they’ve all been friendly to me.”
Paul Carrack and his band will be appearing at Harrogate’s Royal Hall on Tuesday January 26 and The Barbican, York on Wednesday January 27. For details visit http://www.paulcarrack.net/