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He's got quite the catalogue - an interview with Paul Carrack

Stuck in a lockdown bubble – one of the world’s greatest singer songwriters keeps it tight and bright for his latest collection of original songs.

The importance of a writer owning their own work is something Paul Carrack has been working on throughout his almost 50 year career in rock and roll – but it has been his focus for the last 20 years almost exclusively.

“The thing was my own songs, my own catalogue,” he says. “I realized working on a hits collection a few years back (The Story So Far) – that I’d a had a hand, or helped co-write a few really big tunes, but had no say in them – still had to license them for my own collections,” tells Carrack to the Mirror.

“I realized you had to have your own catalogue.”

The tune in question is likely one of the largest in his career – the four-time Grammy nominated Mike and the Mechanics “The Living Years” - but the importance is Carrack has been involved in any number of huge songs where this could be a problem.

Since the favourite musical son of Sheffield, England wrote and sang the tune “How Long?” for Ace in 1975 in his early 20s, Paul Carrack has had hit stints with the bands Squeeze, a two-decade run with the aforementioned Mike + the Mechanics, Roxy Music, Nick Lowe, and more.

He’s played with or written tunes for Elton John, Diana Ross, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, and the Eagles and countless more. He’s toured with a guy named Ringo.

Paul Carrack’s voice is the epitome of blue eyed soul – and his solo work for the last two decades absolutely underlines the previous collaborative 30 years of it. His perhaps as known for the voice of Blue Eyed Soul as Doobie Brother Michael McDonald is for Yacht Rock. And Carrack has written with Michael Mcdonald too.

Last month he toured the southern United States with Eric Clapton. Their last show of the run was Sept. 26.

“That was crazy. I’ve been going out (on the road) with Eric going back a ways now.”

Indeed Clapton toured the southern United States last month amidst a pandemic.  Being at the right hand of Slowhand was an adventure – Carrack documenting much of his off stage touring antics on social media.

When he’s not touring with guitar gods – he’s putting out his own material – adding to that all important catalogue of material. One on One is a quintessential Paul Carrack collection.

It wasn’t meant to be this much of an “all Carrack” affair.

“I said I was never going to go do an album just all on my own again – I’ve done it before,” he notes before the world shutting down made this new collection truly an all-in solo Paul Carrack effort.

He writes music and lyrics as he always has – improvisation and ‘bluesing’ words over the music until the lyric shape hits.

“Once you can get something started, then the work begins.”

The results on ‘One on One’ are a positive and upbeat and uptempo collection of songs – with a couple slower paced songs in the mix. It is Carrack at his most diverse instrument wise in a few albums. Perhaps bit less guitar focused than previous – the collection kicks off with Good and Ready is a strong opening track or live track as well.

While many tracks on the album reflect the pandemic and tell a real story overall, Lighten Up Your Mood is the only real shout out to the lockdown.

Precious Time, and You’re Not Alone are other standout works on the album.

Behind Closed Doors certainly points to him heading to Nashville in the future to cut a record.

His working/studio music environment is exactly what you would expect from someone touring the world in the 1980s with a supergroup while at the same time also balancing his own solo charting career.

“We’ve got this place now – come here and mess around, get a few things going.”

Carrack hasn’t succumbed to computer programming and technology with advances and jumps in recording from tape to digital formats. Instant changes and feedback are part of music now instead of cutting tape on a spool of the past.

“Everything is still played live – there is no programming, but the set up and access and is what we would have killed for back in the day.”

About a year ago he hosted an online streaming concert. He says adding over the last year fibre optics were brought into his studio in the event more live streaming events are to be hosted or shot.

“We have that in here if we were to stream again – but I want to get out on the road.”

A Carrack live set is one of the best going. It is always a combination of new stuff, deep cuts from his solo career, and more.

“I love singing. There are those six/seven tunes we always have in the set. Eyes of Blue will always be there, The Living Years (Mechanics), How Long (Ace), Tempted (Squeeze), Over My Shoulder (Mechanics) Love Will Keep Us Alive (Eagles).”

Paul Carrack’s One on One dropped one month ago on Sept. 17. The Good and Ready tour is slated for next year.

Check out some new music - the track 'A Long Way to Go' right HERE