Putting the sole into soul, Paul Carrack takes on lockdown isolation in a One On One situation for September’s DIY album

“The sound of the record is warm, I think, and engaging, and nourishing,” says Paul Carrack of his new album, One On One. Picture: Nico Wills Cornbury

SHEFFIELD voice of soul Paul Carrack will play York Barbican on February 17 on next year’s Good & Ready tour on the back of releasing his 18th solo studio album next month.

Created in his home studio base “when lockdown cast its unwelcome shadow on the music business”, One On One will be out on September 17 on his own label, Carrack-UK.

This will be his first album since These Days in 2018, a year when he performed at York Barbican on February 16.

Singer, songwriter, keyboard player and guitarist Carrack, 70, has run his record label and touring operation for more than 20 years, equipping him with a do-it-yourself mentality to cope with the need to adapt to pandemic restrictions.

Paul Carrack playing York Barbican in the pre-Covid live years in February 2018. Picture: Simon Bartle

He not only wrote, played and recorded the album, but this time, answering to his muse and trusting his instincts, he even mixed it too. From the voice of Mike + The Mechanics’ The Living Years, you could almost call One On One the result of his live-in years.

Aside from cameos from the likes of a long-time friend and collaborator, ex-Pretenders guitarist Robbie McIntosh, and former James Brown sideman Alfred ‘Pee Wee’ Ellis, he often worked on his own, effectively a one-man band on a defiantly live-sounding album, where only one song existed in demo form beforehand. Carrack conjured the rest during lockdown, the mood set by the opening track, the tour title-inspiring Good & Ready.

“The sound of the record is warm, I think, and engaging, and nourishing,” he says. “There’s two ballads on there, but the rest of it is surprisingly upbeat. I think that’s maybe because we were mid-tour when the touring was shut down, but I was still in a kind of ‘live’ mode.”

The “decidedly funky” A Long Way To Go is boosted by a stellar horn section, arranged by Carrack’s long-time neighbour, but new friend, Dave Arch.

The album artwork for One On One, out on September 17

“I gave Dave the midi part that I’d written, and he transcribed it, and voiced it properly,” says Carrack. “You can’t beat real horns. So, we had Steve Beighton, of course, who’s been in my band for 20 years and tours with me all the time.

“We got the legendary ‘Pee Wee’ Ellis, of James Brown and Van Morrison fame, Dennis Rollins on trombone, and Andy Greenwood on trumpet. So, we recorded the horns in [the studio] here, and they sound great. And backing vocals by Michelle John, who I met working in Eric Clapton’s band. She’s absolutely unbelievable.”

Moments from Carrack’s personal life inform One On One. I Miss You So, for example, emerged from not being able to visit his daughter, after she gave birth to his new granddaughter early in 2020.

It is never a case, however, of Carrack capitalising on a situation for a tune. “I hardly ever have a plan about writing a song,” he says. “I come in here, I sit at the keyboard, or the guitar, get something going, start some lines off the top of my head. And without trying to sound too pretentious, things come out.”

Paul Carrack playing at the Underneath The Stars Festival at Cinderhill Farm, Barnsley, last Friday

The ballad You’re Not Alone was released in February as the first single from the album, subsequently being picked as a BBC Radio 2 Record of The Week. “I think I was listening to a conversation on the radio, or something, and somebody said, ‘Well, if you think the world’s going mad, you’re not alone’. And I thought, ‘Yeah’,” recalls Carrack. “The sentiment is one of support really, for someone very close who was struggling with the anxiety of lockdown.”

The swinging Lighten Up Your Mood has another ‘Pee Wee’ horn arrangement and the slinky When Love Is Blind features Carrack’s son, Jack, on drums. Normally, he would have played on the whole album, had he not been living on the other side of town.

Shame On You, Shame On Me has shades of Carrack’s original 1960s’ heroes such as Ray Charles, while Set Me Free carries a simple message for our times. “Not trying to be political or anything, more a cry from the heart to get back to some kind of normal,” he says. “I’m lucky, I live in a nice place, I’ve got a great family, but we definitely miss being out on the road.”

One On One closes with Carrack’s latest re-make of a time-worn favourite, in the wake of The Young Rascals’ Groovin’, Jackie DeShannon’s When You Walk In The Room and Goffin & King’s When My Little Girl Is Smiling. This time, he enriches Charlie Rich’s country crossover hit of 1973, Behind Closed Doors.

Paul Carrack will play 27 dates on next year’s tour

The full track listing is: Good & Ready; A Long Way To Go; I Miss You So; You’re Not Alone; Lighten Up Your Mood; Precious Time; When Love Is Blind; Shame On You, Shame On Me; Set Me Free and Behind Closed Doors.

Now that doors are open once more for gigging, Carrack will play Rye Jazz Festival, Bexhill on Sea, on August 26, followed by three autumn shows that will kick off at Hull Bonus Arena on October 19.

Next year’s 27-date Good & Ready tour will feature three Yorkshire gigs: Hull City Hall on January 22, York Barbican on February 17 and a homecoming finale at Sheffield City Hall on March 19.

York tickets for the soulful vocal sound of Ace’s How Long, Squeeze’s Tempted and Mike + The Mechanics’ Over My Shoulder, Silent Running and The Living Years are on sale at yorkbarbican.co.uk. For Hull Bonus Arena, premier.ticketek.co.uk; Hull City Hall, hulltheatres.co.uk; Sheffield, sheffieldcityhall.co.uk.

Paul Carrack is good and ready for York Barbican gig in 2022 and summer album

Paul Carrack: new single, new tour and 2022 tour

SHEFFIELD soul stalwart Paul Carrack will play York Barbican on February 17 2022 on his 24-date Good And Ready Tour.

Further Yorkshire gigs are in next year’s diary for Hull City Hall on January 22 and a home-city finale on March 19.

Carrack, the golden voice of Ace’s How Long, Squeeze’s Tempted and Mike + The Mechanics’ The Living Years and Over My Shoulder, will release new single You’re Not Alone on Friday (19/2/2021) across all digital platforms via his independent label, Carrack-UK.

The live years before Covid: Paul Carrack at York Barbican in February 2018. Picture: Simon Bartle

His 18th studio set of a 50-year career, One On One, will follow in the summer, on a date yet to be confirmed for his first album since These Days in 2018, a year when he performed at York Barbican on February 16.

The single and album are the results of Carrack heading into his recording studio since the first pandemic lockdown in March 2020. He not only wrote, recorded and produced every song on One On One, but he also played all of the instruments, making his latest work the very definition of a solo record, made when he was very much alone.

Carrack, who will turn 70 on April 22, says of You’re Not Alone: “I’d say the song is self-explanatory, but the sentiment is one of unquestioning commitment and support. I very much hope I get the chance to perform this song live with my band when we get the green light to start touring again, which we all hope will be at some point this year.”

Tickets for his York Barbican show are on sale at £42.75 to £48.35 at yorkbarbican.co.uk; Hull tickets, hulltheatres.co.uk; Sheffield, sheffieldcityhall.co.uk.

“I’d say the song is self-explanatory, but the sentiment is one of unquestioning commitment and support,” says Paul Carrack, introducing his new single, You’re Not Alone

Squeeze up! Glenn Tilbrook puts The Crescent in his diary for March concert

Glenn Tilbrook: Heading for The Crescent in 2022

GLENN Tilbrook will play The Crescent in York on March 13…next year.

As far away as the gig is, nevertheless tickets have gone on sale already for the solo show by the Squeeze singer, songwriter and guitarist, now 63.

More than 45 years after he first answered an ad placed by Chris Difford, looking for like-minded sorts to form the Deptford band that became the evergreen Squeeze, an ending is nowhere in sight.

Squeeze made their recording bow with the Packet Of Three EP in 1977 and a multitude of hits ensued: Take Me I’m Yours; Cool For Cats; Goodbye Girl; Up The Junction; Pulling Mussels; Another Nail In My Heart; Tempted; Labelled With Love; Black Coffee In Bed; Is That Love and Hourglass, complemented by such albums as Argybargy, East Side Story and Some Fantastic Place.

A series of solo albums have ensued, kicking off with 2001’s The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook, followed by 2004’s Transatlantic Ping-Pong and 2009’s Pandemonium Ensues, made with his solo touring band The Fluffers. In 2014 came the mostly acoustic Happy Ending, his most personal work to date with its series of evocative portraits of time, people and places.

Presented by The Gig Cartel, tickets for Tilbrook’s show cost £20 at seetickets.com.