Graham Gouldman - the acoustic troubador

Graham Gouldman
Graham Gouldman

Centre stage in stadiums and at festivals around the world is where you’ll generally find rockers 10cc.

But for band member Graham Gouldman, he’s found a new groove as a side line to the big performances.

And he’s once again taking to the road this spring to perform a series of intimate concerts at venues across the UK.

Last year’s ‘Heart Full of Songs’ tour was such a success that Graham’s once again stripping things back for an entire set, and his dates once again take in Fife, and Carnegie Hall in Dunfermline.

The 2014 tour started in Birmingham last week, and will end at the Wychwood Festival in Cheltenham on May 30.

In among them, he’s covering the length and breadth of the UK.

And getting back on the road is something Graham was looking forward to when he took time out recently to speak to the Press.

He said: “I’m very excited about it.

“It’s something I enjoy doing.

“We played there (Carnegie Hall) last year so it will be nice to go back.

“It was a very good night and there was a great reception and that’s why we are doing it again.”

Anyone attending a 10cc concert in recent years will likely have witnessed the sublime acoustic opening set, featuring Gouldman and the guys performing some of the hits he penned for other artists.

The success of these opening sets encouraged Gouldman to take the idea one step further and ‘Heart Full of Songs’ became a stand-alone acoustic entity.

But it’s not what many would expect from the rock band.

Graham explained: “It’s a very pleasurable thing to do. It’s very different from 10cc and something I enjoy.

“The songs have to be very strong to work in an acoustic way.

“A song like ‘I’m Not In Love’ is a big production, but to hear it stripped down means it has to have good strong content.

“The whole acoustic thing is more intimate and the material is more natural sounding.

“When you’re doing this, you have to be careful that the songs selected are strong to be stripped back.

“I have tried to choose well and I think I have anyway.”

Graham explains it’s not just a different experience for himself at these acoustic shows.

“It’s a completely different experience for the audience,” he said.

“It’s more intimate, I talk about the songs a bit more than I can normally, and I can see the audience.”

After writing hits such as ‘Pamela, Pamela’ for Wayne Fontana, ‘For Your Love’ and ‘Heart Full of Soul’ for the Yardbirds, ‘Bus Stop’ and ‘Look Through Any Window’ for The Hollies and ‘No Milk Today’ for Herman’s Hermits, Gouldman formed 10cc in 1972 with Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme.

As a band they enjoyed 11 Top 10 hits, including three number ones – ‘Rubber Bullets’, ‘I’m Not In Love’ and ‘Dreadlock Holiday’ – along with tracks such as ‘Donna’ reaching number two and ‘Good Morning Judge’ (number five) and ‘The Things We Do For Love’ (number six).

It’s the enduring popularity of these tracks and Gouldman’s love of playing songs in their simplest form, acoustically, that led him to form ‘Heart Full of Songs’.

He continued: “I’m going to do songs that were hits for people that I wrote in the 60s, going to do some 10cc songs and some I wrote with Andrew Gold and some from my latest solo albums.”

And, as you’ll already know if you saw him last time he brought this show to the Kingdom, Graham is not travelling alone.

He’s bringing two friends with him on tour this time – fellow 10cc band member Mike Stevens and Iain Hornal.

Gouldman said: “I’ve got Mark who plays with 10cc too and Iain who is a guitarist and works with us on occasion.

“It’s great, I have worked with Mark for 12 years.

“It’s like playing with friends in a way, which it should be.

“I feel there’s a certain symposium that transcends to the audience and they can hear the fact we’re playing together as one.”

As if to further reinforce Graham Gouldman’s status as one of the world’s leading songwriters, he is to be inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame – an arm of America’s National Academy of Music – this summer.

In recent years, Gouldman has co-written with the likes of Gary Barlow, Tim Rice, Paul Carrack, Chris Difford and Suggs, as well as spending time in Nashville writing with, among others, Gary Burr.

But despite the songwriting and this acoustic tour, Gouldman’s going to be keeping busy in the coming months.

So what does the future hold?

He said: “After this we’re going to do a series of gigs over the summber, both here and in Europe.

“There are places where there is time off and I’ll be involved in writing projects that I’m quite involved in.”

‘Heart Full of Songs’ comes to Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline on Tuesday, May 20.