One of the most revered singer-songwriters of his generation
announces details of his new album:
Produced by Andy Wright (Simply Red, Massive Attack, Simple Minds) and recorded with a live band at the legendary RAK studios,
featuring guests KT Tunstall and Mick Hucknall.
Watch the video to the first single, ‘Take Love’ – a duet with KT Tunstall: here
“Alone Again (Naturally) and Nothing Rhymed are two of my favourite songs.
Great lyrics, great tunes.” – Paul Weller
“The ever brilliant…” – Tim Burgess (The Charlatans / Listening Party)
“Thank YOU for your beautiful music.” – Kim Wilde
“I am a massive fan.” – Chris Difford (Squeeze)
“If we’ve got to live by the charts alone, then let’s have Gilbert O’Sullivan in them.” – John Peel
“Songs [that] are artfully constructed, lyrically original with a fine sense of filigree detail.”
– Lenny Kaye
Today BMG release Take Love, the first single to be taken from Gilbert O’Sullivan’s twentieth studio album, Driven, out July 22nd. Take Love finds Gilbert and guest vocalist, Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall trading lines over a sizzlingly energetic R&B arrangement.
Incredibly, fifty years have elapsed since Gilbert O’Sullivan found himself celebrating a six-week run at the top of the U.S. Billboard Chart with Alone Again Naturally – the song which prompted America to commence an improbable love affair with this Irish-born, yet most British of singer-songwriters. The song has been covered live by artists including Neil Diamond, Nina Simone, Pet Shop Boys and Elton John. It’s perhaps no surprise that ensuing generations of acclaimed artists – including Paul Weller, Squeeze and The Lemon Twigs – proudly count themselves as Gilbert O’Sullivan fans. Other notable admirers include Tim Burgess (The Charlatans), who personally invited him to host two of his legendary Twitter Listening Parties.
Gilbert’s new album Driven follows his acclaimed Ethan Johns-produced, self-titled 2018 album which was awarded 4-stars in MOJO magazine. The thirteen songs that comprise Driven reveal a songwriter whose ability to sniff out hitherto undiscovered sources of low-hanging melodic fruit is keener than ever. Produced by Andy Wright and recorded with a live band at the legendary RAK studios, the unexpected velocity at which the songs came together bears testament to the instant chemistry generated between O’Sullivan, Wright and a house band featuring Pat Murdoch (Beyonce, Simply Red, Chrissie Hynde), Rich Milner (Morcheeba, James Morrison) and Geoff Holdroyde (Take That, Big Linda).
This chemistry is present on album opener Love Casualty which features something close to JJ Cale in the interplay between Gilbert and Pat Murdoch’s supple guitar ornamentations. In addition to Gilbert’s duet with KT Tunstall, the album features another guest turn from big fan and Simply Red frontman Mick Hucknall. Mick brings his sublime timbre to Let Bygones Be Bygones, a song which offers a timely corrective to the increasingly polarised thinking that characterises discourse in a social media age.
Gilbert’s extraordinary ability for exploring the human condition is exemplified on Hey Man, which offers snapshots of decisive moments in the lives of four separate characters, who all have in common that things may never be the same again beyond these frozen moments in time.
On With Body and Mind, we’re presented an adhesively catchy audit of blessings which takes the form of an internal dialogue about its protagonist’s lifetime lover. More topical issues are explored in You and Me Babe, where Gilbert juxtaposes the things that make our lives meaningful against the turbulence of the world at large, with a subtle reference to climate change. Whilst, framed by an exquisitely tender string arrangement, If Only Love Had Ears is, by any metric, one of the most beautiful songs to bear O’Sullivan’s name.
Reflective songs come in the form of Let Me Know – and another instantly memorable standout on Driven – Blue Anchor Bay. The former recalls the first decade of Gilbert’s career, in which he resisted serious relationships for fear that it might have an effect on his songwriting. The latter, finds him reflecting upon simpler times, retreating to his teenage years in Swindon and the regular school trips which would see him and his friends head out to the Somerset beach immortalised in the song’s title. The result is the sort of sepia jazz standard one might sooner expect to find on an album by Leon Redbone or Mose Allison.
At its core, Driven is an album that offers a nuanced portrait man reaffirming his own values and sense of self in an increasingly chaotic world. Never a conventional songwriter, he perhaps conforms to the description of a British chansonnier, praised by none other than Lenny Kaye – rock scholar and guitarist with the Patti Smith Group – for “songs [that] are artfully constructed, lyrically original with a fine sense of filigree detail.” As with Paul McCartney and the young Harry Nilsson – two songwriters for whom he retains a huge fondness – Gilbert O’Sullivan’s reach extends beyond the parameters of rock’n’roll.
Based on the album biography by Pete Paphides, available on request.
Blue Anchor Bay
Let Bygones Be Bygones (featuring Mick Hucknall)
Body and Mind
What Are You Waiting For
Let Me Know
Take Love (featuring KT Tunstall)
Back and Forth
If Only Love Had Ears
You Can’t Say I Didn’t Try
You and Me Babe
Don’t Get Under Each Other’s Skin
Driven will be available on:
Limited Edition Clear LP
Tape Cassette (D2C only)
Digital: SD, HD, UHD and immersive formats (Dolby Atmos and Sony 360)
Buy link: https://gilbertosullivan.lnk.to/drivenPR
Gilbert O’Sullivan’s career has spanned 50 years. His first single proper Nothing Rhymed was released in 1970 and almost overnight it achieved Top 10 status In the UK charts. His debut album Himself was littered with the most perfect examples of his art and craftsmanship. Top 10 singles abounded, including the classic, Alone Again (Naturally). His second album, 1972’s Back To Front, firmly cemented Gilbert amongst the world’s best. This critically acclaimed album topped both the UK and US charts for an astonishing six weeks, earning him not one but three Grammy nominations.
British recognition soon followed with the songs Clair and Get Down reaching the summit of the UK singles charts and his LP Back To Front topping the album charts. In the same year at the 18th Ivor Novello Awards Gilbert was named ‘Song Writer of the Year’. To date he has won three Ivor Novello awards, and in recent times performed alongside artists including Ray Davies. He has also headlined Glastonbury (where he was once joined on stage by Squeeze’s Glenn Tilbrook), BBC Proms In The Park, toured extensively throughout the UK, Ireland, Europe, Japan and Australia.
His last album, 2018’s Gilbert O’Sullivan, was acclaimed across the UK media and achieved Gilbert’s highest UK Album Chart position in almost 45 years.
His legacy and influence has been acknowledged by a diverse range of artists, including: Paul Weller, Nina Simone, Neil Diamond, James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem), Ron Sexsmith, Har Mar Superstar, Mick Hucknall, Gary Barlow, Boy George, Rumer, The Lemon Twigs and Empire Of The Sun.
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