THINK Gilbert O´Sullivan and – if you’re of a certain age – the chances are that you will think Alone Again (Naturally), Clair and Get Down, those big hits of the early 1970s.
Gilbert, however, touring again on the back of a new album, hasn’t got time for too much nostalgia.
“I am very happy to have grown up in that era,” Gilbert says.
“I am very happy with what went out in the 1970s, but I don’t live in the past.
“You can’t be a contemporary songwriter if you live in the past.
“I listen to everything that is happening now.
“The production values in the digital age are incredible.”
Yes, there was a huge amount of originality around in the early 70s, but there are great things happening now – and the way to keep alive as a songwriter is to acknowledge that, believes Gilbert, who plays Worthing’s Assembly Hall on Monday, February 21 (tickets on 01903 206206).
The new album Gilbertville features 14 tracks, including the new single All They Wanted to Say, with an interlude halfway through featuring comedian Harry Hill reciting a short poem of Gilbert’s.
The 14 tracks are made up of 13 new tracks, recorded in Nashville and London and a hidden track, a re-mixed version of School Meal, which was recorded during the A Scruff at Heart sessions.
“I release an album every two and a half years inquite a regular way. It was interesting to go to Nashville. I just write pop songs, and there are some great musicians in the UK.
But it was interesting to go to the States.
You get a different approach – a different atmosphere, a different kind of playing.
“I am not really into analysing it all, but I am very happy with the way it came out.
“I am a lyricist, not like Elton John, who just does the music.
“When you are a lyricist, you have to be a little bit hermit-like.
“There is a great joy to writing lyrics.
“You just don’t know where it is going to take you.
“Sometimes it can be just a trigger. When you log on to the idea, you might end up with 10 verses and three middles.
“The average song just has three or four. And then you have to pare it back.
“Melodies have to happen very quickly or not at all. It’s a different set of rules.”