British rock-soul singer Paul Carrack – famous for smash hits such as How Long, Over my Shoulder and The Living Years – will play Gateshead’s Sage on 27th January 2019.

Paul – who has sung for acts like Mike + the Mechanics and Ace, and worked with Eric Clapton – has been in the music business for an incredible 50 years. But Paul, in no mood to slow down, has a new album out and is gearing up for a tour in the new year.

Paul says he first got the idea for a career in music thanks to a trip organised by his careers officer back in Sheffield.

“When we were coming up to leaving school, they took us down a coal mine,” Paul said.

“That was the best money around at the time. So you go down in the cage a really long way then you get on a little train track and that went a really long way too. You get out and you’re walking and I trod on this bloke sitting there having his sandwiches in the dark.”

“Then you get to the coal face and it’s low and you’re crawling around under there. They’ve got hydraulic props, dust flying everywhere. I was claustrophobic anyway.”

“And it was: ‘Get me out of here! Give me that bloody guitar and let me learn a few more chords.’”

By the age of 17, Paul was already on tour. “I went off to Germany. We auditioned in London and got the gig,” Paul said. “We did two weeks in a club in Frankfurt then two in Cologne, all covers.”

“Then we had a month-long residency at the Top Ten Club (a club The Beatles played in 1961) on the Reeperbahn in Hamburg.”

“Then the progressive rock stuff was coming in,” Paul said. “We decided we were going to go for it, threw in the cover malarkey and went for it.”

Paul slogged away for a few years in the jazz-rock group Warm Dust. It wasn’t until Paul was in the band Ace and they released How Long that he tasted success. As well as being a hit in the UK, How Long – covered by Bobby Womack – was a top three US smash.

Since then, Paul has recorded Tempted with Squeeze and enjoyed hits with Mike + the Mechanics such as The Living Years and Over My Shoulder, the latter a cowrite with Mike Rutherford.

Another of Paul’s cowrites, Love Will Keep Us Alive, was covered by The Eagles and won a prestigious ASCAP Award as Song of the Year. Battlefield, a cowrite of Paul’s with Nick Lowe, was covered by none other than Diana Ross.

Paul Carrack has also collaborated with the likes of The Smiths, Roxy Music and B.B. King. A career highlight came when Paul was asked to join Eric Clapton’s touring band, an honour that culminated in a huge gig in Hyde Park in Summer 2018.

Paul’s new album – These Days – is the 17th he’s released under his own name. The album contains Paul’s trademark highly accessible soul-pop and meaningful lyrics.

Paul said of the album’s themes: “It’s about getting to an age and appreciating what you’ve got. I hope it will resonate with people who are going through the same stuff. It’s not being frightened of it and just trying to enjoy it.”

Paul road-tested the new songs in front of his loyal fanbase – who still turn out in their thousands for his gigs – earlier this year. And there are more great gigs to come in 2019.

Paul Carrack will play Sage Gateshead on Sunday 27th January 2019 at 7.30 pm.

(Featured image courtesy of Mark Kent, from Flickr Creative Commons.)

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