Paul positive about future

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Roxy Music, Squeeze, Mike + The Mechanics – the bands Sheffield musician Paul Carrack has played with reads like a who’s who of music.

Not forgetting work with The Smiths and The Pretenders and a lengthy solo career.

It is no wonder the 64-year-old is relaxed about the release of his latest album.

The singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who grew up in Crookes, releases Soul Shadows on Friday, January 15 – with a UK tour to promote it starting today and including a hometown show on the release day.

The album features 10 new tracks, as well as one remake.

“I am very positive about it,” Paul admits. “I am hoping for the best.

“We do like to get a couple of tracks on the radio, because that always helps the live situation, which is the bread and butter these days.

“I’m not expecting to give Adele any problems in the sales department, but it’s important for me to keep trying to make good records that I am happy with and so are the people who like what I do.”

“However, as excited and proud as I am, I try not to be precious about it ‑ I haven’t got time to worry about it.

“I do my best, I think it’s pretty good, but that’s the worst thing about this whole process, you have to keep putting yourself out there to be shot at, for other people to judge and give comments.”

Paul says this is an insecurity a lot of musicians carry around with them – and he admits he is still half-expecting to be told it is time to get a proper job.

“It’s taken a long time and a lot of hard work to establish myself as a solo artiste,” says the self-taught musician.

“You wait for the tap on shoulder, ‘excuse me sonny, can I see your licence’. I still think that, but that’s why you keep giving it your best shot all the time, and never ever coast it. Never on a gig, on a record, never. You do your absolute best.

“I am pretty sure this album is as good as anything I have ever done. I think the people who like what I’ve done will think it’s good.

“If it did all change now and everyone thought what I was recording was rubbish, I would chuck it all in, but I’d think I didn’t do too bad – and people do keep telling I’m getting better.

“Anyway, I have been making records all my life, I don’t know what else to do.”

Soul Shadows was mainly written in Paul’s new home studio, with his son Jack on drums.

“A lot of the songs have just evolved,” he says. “The studio used to be a garage, and it was cold in there. It has served me well for several albums, but with the help of John Flynn, who designed one of the Abbey Road studios, I’ve finally gotten around to properly refurbishing it and it’s a lovely inspiring space to work.

“As soon as we were up and running Jack and I were in there jamming away and several of the songs eventually evolved from those ideas.

“I don’t write much on the road, except for little nuggets, maybe a little melody or riff I’ll Istick on my phone.

“When it’s time to record I’ll evaluate those little ideas and see what might develop into something more substantial.

“Having started back in August without any songs I wrote 10 songs fairly quickly. I prefer to write that way, rather than write all the time, because I feel it’s fresher.

These are clearly exciting times for Paul.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had it so good as I have it now,” he says.

“I am kind of home and dry if it all went bad tomorrow, but I am still excited to do new stuff.

“I think I am on pretty good form and that’s exciting.”

And Paul, who now lives in Hertfordshire, admits Sheffield shows are always extra-special for him.

“I have always had the connection with the city, my family are still there, my brother is there and most of the band are from Sheffield,” he says.

“It will be a similar show to normal in as much as we have to strike the balance between the favourites and new stuff.

“It will be a mix of the stuff people want to hear, like the big hits, and various songs from the catalogue and some of the new stuff.

“It’s important for us and the audience to keep it fresh.”

Paul Carrack plays Sheffield City Hall on Friday, January 15.

“I remember when I was a kid going to City Hall” he says. “I saw The Beatles, The Stones, the likes of Chuck Berry, Roy Orbison and Bob Dylan and now I am treading the same boards.”

For tickets, priced from £31, visit www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk