It’s only a year since Paul Casey released his last album ‘Somebody I’m Not’ - to popular acclaim - but not one to rest on his laurels, the popular singer/songwriter launched his new album ‘After the Harvest’ last week.
Talking about the new album Paul says, “I treat my work as any you would any other nine-to-five job. I recognise how lucky I am to be doing music as my work.
“But I have to treat it as a normal working day. As soon as the kids go to school in the morning I get started and the day could go until 9pm.”
This dedication to his work is something that has even prompted a new extension at his home.
“I try and finish as the boys, Dylan and Ben, get home, but I’m currently building an extension so that I can be working out of the way.
“I enjoy working at home, but having a more dedicated studio is definitely something I’m looking forward to.”
This current album was recorded in both his own home, and at the home of drummer Liam Bradley in Redcastle.
“I always set myself a deadline when it comes to producing new work. I like the focus and those last few weeks under pressure are often when I work best.”
Yet the album has really been a work in progress for the last year.
“I write all the time, and the music is generally influenced by things I see or hear. But not all of the tracks that I develop over the year makes the album.
“There are ten tracks on there and I’m choosing them right down to the wire.
“There are some on there that didn’t make the last album ‘Somebody I’m Not’ and there will be music I’ve left off ‘After the Harvest’ that will no doubt make the next one.”
There’s no doubt that this album has been influenced by an American country/Nashville vibe.
He explains, “Local singer Eilidh Patterson sings on this album and she is very much influenced by the Nashville way of singing.
“And Jon McCullough on the piano brought his own slant to the music too.
“I’m not afraid to get other musicians working on my work, it would be mad not to take their input, as they are all very experienced musicians in their own right.”
Yet a first listen to the album confirms that while Paul might have added a touch of Nashville, it’s very much his own sound.
It’s an album that his fans will certainly appreciate.
He laughs, “I’m from Creggan, I don’t have fans!
“But I know what you mean. I would like to think when people put on my album they know it’s me.”
And whether Paul likes it or not, he does have a loyal following.
He acknowledges this, “There is definitely a new ‘thing’ in the city, where people are definitely starting to support local acts.
“I’ve seen that through the Homegrown gigs we played at the Millennium Forum. It was an idea Paddy Nash, Bronagh Gallagher and I had for the City of Culture year. It was a big gamble, but David McLaughlin at the Forum had faith in us, we put the gig on in January 2013 and we were so surprised to see the numbers of local people who are willing to pay for a ticket.
“We’ve put it on again during 2014 and at the start of 2015, and are hoping that Homegrown number four will be on in January 2016.
“But we never take the support for granted.”
Paul actually started working in music when he left school, working in the old Harrison’s music shop in the Richmond Centre.
“It was an education in itself, as I was exposed to so much music, in lots of different genres.
“It also opened so many doors for me as I got to know the Warner rep and he passed on my tape to Chris Rea.
“I went on to do support for Chris Rea at his tours, and played in his backing band.
“I travelled the world doing tours, even playing at the Royal Albert Hall, but I missed home.
“I’m enjoying creating my own work now, and producing other musicians, all in my own home.”
Twenty years later he has carved out a niche for himself yet recognises that he’s always learning,
“I’m forever making mistakes but that’s how you learn.”
Paul launches his new album, ‘After the Harvest’ at the Playhouse, Derry, on Saturday 6th June at 8pm. Tickets are £10 and available from the Box Office on (028) 71268027.
Other tour dates include Friday 5th June at the Newtownards Art Centre; Thursday 25th June at Thêatre de verdure, Nice, France as support to the Low Budget Men); Friday 3rd July at No Alibis Bookstore, Belfast and Monday 31st August at The 100 Club, Oxford Street, London as support to the Low Budget Men.