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On Tour 2020

February 6, 2020

Gilbert O’Sullivan Tour

Gilbert O'Sullivan

The “Alone Again (Naturally)” chart-topper kicks off a 2020 U.S. concert tour

BY HARVEY KUBERNIK

SINGER/SONGWRITER GILBERT O’Sullivan has continued to bring forth his current tunes and recordings in select live performances (both solo and full band) to thrilled audiences across Europe, Japan and assorted parts across the continents for some time.

In 2016, O’Sullivan signed with the BMG, the worldwide label and music publishing empire who ushered in O’Sullivan’s 2018 self-titled album Gilbert O’Sullivan produced by Ethan Johns (Kings Of Leon, Ray LaMontagne, Ryan Adams, Paolo Nutini, and Rufus Wainwright).

The album went Top 20 UK in 2018, his first British charting studio album in over 40 years. Gilbert has just completed a 16 date sell-out tour of the UK.

O’Sullivan has a devoted and loyal following in the US, largely owing to his acclaimed “Alone Again (Naturally),” the masterful heartstrings-puller that reached #3 in the UK, and a stunning #1 in America spending six non-consecutive weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, selling nearly two million copies.

It also garnered three Grammy nominations, no small feat in highly competitive 1972. Music scholars take note: The gorgeous nylon-string guitar solo was played by British session legend Big Jim Sullivan.

There have been additional O’Sullivan works to be admired before and after. Classic rock, satellite and NPR radio stations for decades have programmed “Nothing Rhymed,” “Out Of The Question,” “Clair,” “Get Down,” the both romantic and knowing, youthful and adult “Matrimony” and dozens more — million sellers joining company with delightfully yet-to-be discovered gems, including a wonderful duet with icon Peggy Lee “Can’t Think Straight.”

Gilbert O’Sullivan is the winner of three coveted Ivor Novello awards in the UK, one for “Songwriter of the Year” in 1972. He thankfully prevailed throughout the difficult time of litigation with his former manager and record label, which finally concluded in 1982.

Gilbert found himself to be a champion of songwriters and musical copyright holders in 1991, winning litigation in a landmark case with Biz Markie concerning the use of a sample of “Alone Again (Naturally).” As a result, that victory brought about an artist precedent, insuring that music samples would be cleared/approved/negotiated by all parties involved, prior to use in commercial recordings.

HARVEY KUBERNIK INTERVIEWS GILBERT O’SULLIVAN

Q: You must be looking forward to your American Tour in April! The buzz following your 2019 shows in New York and Philadelphia is considerable. What’s your overall feeling about covering more ground this time in the U.S.?

It was wonderful coming back and per-forming after 40 years. As it’s taken me so long to get in, the nice thing is having made the breakthrough and I’m so looking forward to performing for you all.

Q: What was the creative process like working with Ethan Johns on your latest self-titled album Gilbert O’Sullivan? There’s also mini-documentary on your website.

Ethan has a very analogue approach, which was perfect for me. He doesn’t like the digital approach and we recorded everything live on tape, which gives a warmth to the record. Everything was recorded live with the band, 2/3 takes of each song and Ethan liked the take which wasn’t perfect, which had a truthfulness about it. He has a very organic approach and was a joy to work with.

Q: What the best work environment is for you to find inspiration. Do you use a computer this century for song ideas?

It’s the ‘Brill Building’ mentality, I.E. Carole King, Neil Sedaka, Gerry Goffin — a 9-5 discipline work ethic where I sit by the piano for however long it takes, until I come up with that idea. I’m totally computer illiterate! My recording is all on cassette, via my ’70s ghetto-blaster with in-built mic. The new album has also been released on cassette in honour of this.

Q: Your album and single “The Same The Whole World Over” is being serviced to American radio. What are your thoughts about that song — and any other favorites on the album you feel programmers should share with their listeners?

After performing the songs live on stage, “Penny Drops” gets a great reaction. “The Same The Whole World Over” rocks it up, it’s a really good track, one of the rockier ones on the album, in contrast with “I’ll Never Love Again” the ballad. Another favourite, also of the fans, is “Dansette Dreams and 45s” which gets a wonderful reaction every time people hear it live.

Q: Tell us a bit about your accompanist, guitarist Bill Shanley who has worked with Ray Davies.

Bill is one of Ireland’s finest guitar players and a great accompanist to me on stage. Musically he adapts to the songs, as well as his brilliant guitar playing, he provides great vocal harmonies and backing.

Q: Do you remember the very first time hearing your music on the radio?

Before “Nothing Rhymed” my very first single “Disappear” was played in 1967 by the legendary DJ John Peel, who was a great supporter of me in the early days. Then hearing “Nothing Rhymed” being played on Radio 1 extensively was a big thrill.

Q: You plan to visit some legendary American cities on your tour itinerary. Any personal recollections of visits to these places? This could be recollections of being on tour, recording — or on holiday. San Francisco, for example, even been there?

Passed by San Francisco, that’s a great city. We love Nashville, and have a place there in Hendersonville. New York is always special. I recorded there with Phil Ramone before he produced Billy Joel in 1972. And when I met my wife, she was living in Manhattan Beach so playing in Los Angeles is going to be extra special.

Q: Can you just comment on “Alone Again (Naturally)” — and any feedback from a fan or artist about that song that really registered?

Every reaction to “Alone Again (Naturally)” is special. Many people think it is about a personal experience but it is not, I feel you don’t always have to experience something to write about it in a sincere way. The song means so many different things to people and it intrigues me how much it means to people. The success in America made the song their own and it has been covered by Neil Diamond and also Michael Bublé with Diana Krall, which means a lot.

Q: Morrissey has performed your classic “Nothing Rhymed” occasionally since 2002.

It was nice that he performed it, but more so that he performed the B-side “I Didn’t Know What To Do,” which has brought me back to that song and I now perform it live again.

Q: Elton John joined you for a TV appearance in 1973 when you performed “Get Down” together. Mutual Admiration Society? Do you have any fun anecdotes about your time together with Elton?

He was a guest on my show and we just met before at his home which was an enjoyable meeting.

Q: What great artist, living or passed on, would you most like to meet?

Fats Domino. He’s been a big influence on me and a song of mine “Forever Wondering” is a nod to him, I play this live in the set. I’m really looking forward to playing for you all and getting to meet people after the show. Bring on April!

http://www.gilbertosullivan.co.uk/

Harvey Kubernik is the author of 16 books. His music anthology Inside Cave Hollywood: The Harvey Kubernik Music Inner-Views and InterViews Collection Vol. 1, was published by Cave Hollywood. Kubernik’s The Doors Summer’s Gone, published by Other World Cottage Industries was nominated for the 2019 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Awards for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research.

Gilbert O’Sullivan 2020 Tour

O’Sullivan triumphantly returned to the states in July 2019 for two exclusive east coast performances, one each in New York and Philadelphia.

During 2020, beginning Sunday, April 12 in Washington DC, O’Sullivan will kick off a 7-city City Winery tour followed by west coast dates at Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, California and The Mint in Los Angeles. 

Sunday,
April 12
,
City Winery, Washington DC

Monday,
April 13
,
City Winery, Philadelphia, PA

Wednesday,
April 15
,
City Winery,
New York, NY

Thursday,
April 16
,
City Winery,
Boston, MA

Sunday,
April 19
,
City Winery, Chicago, IL

Monday,
April 20
,
City Winery, Nashville, TN

Wednesday,
April 22
,
City Winery,
Atlanta, GA

Friday,
April 24
,
Freight & Salvage, Berkeley, CA

Sunday, April 26,
The Mint,
Los Angeles, CA






One Comment


  1. Rob

    The B–side of Nothing Rhymed was Everybody Knows. Should be performed live too! I Didn’t Know What To Do was our B-side to We Will



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