The music sounds timeless but the subject-matter is so very now. The latest video from Paul Kelly is his response to the Australian bush fires that ravaged the country last year, an event that seems long-forgotten amidst the current global crisis. With lines like, “Sleep now, don’t worry, there’s no need to hurry,” and, “With acid seas rising to kiss coastal mountains,” his writing is lyrical and yet brutal. It’s a call for action on a problem that hasn’t gone away while we have been distracted. Continue reading “Video: Paul Kelly “Sleep, Australia, Sleep””
It’s a point of pride for Australians that they don’t beat around the bush. So when it comes to reviewing ‘Songs From the South 1985-2019’, by one of that country’s greatest modern-day singer-songwriters, you could maybe get away with just writing “this album is stunningly and consistently brilliant, go out and buy it today.” (That way if the Editor got sarky about whether this new-found brevity of style had anything to do with the outgoing ‘festive season’ then you could claim you were reflecting the Aussies’ no-nonsense approach to life and that the comment summed up pretty neatly what you thought, anyway.) Continue reading “Paul Kelly “Songs From The South 1985 – 2019” (Cooking Vinyl, 2019)”
Paul Kelly has more pathos in the index finger of his right hand than most songwriters do in their, er, heads – exhibit A is this track, the version of which you can watch below recorded with bluegrass band The Stormwater Boys. When I first heard this song it moved me to tears, partly because of the sublime melody but moreover because of the understatement, the humour and sadness, and Paul Kelly’s gift for storytelling, the story in this song of a journey home in the back of your parents’ car at night and the gulf there is between those rows of seats. Nobody does this more evocatively. I imagine one day this will be a song that I can never listen to again.
Leaving you this weekend dear readers with news on an Aussie icon who doesn’t get half the recognition he deserves in Americana circles – he supported Dylan on one of his tours over there so he’s quite a big deal and a year ago his album ‘Life Is Fine’ gave him his first ARIA #1 in his 44-year career. Just a year later, he’s announced his return with another album due out October, entitled ‘Nature’. At this rate he’ll be releasing one album every three months by 2023. Tonedeaf notes that: “With most of the songs written over the course of several years and dating back to the recording sessions for albums such as The Merri Soul Sessions, Seven Sonnets And A Song, and Life Is Fine, Paul Kelly’s 24th record focuses on human nature’s small place in the natural world. Continue reading “Paul Kelly returns with new album “Nature” – watch the first video”
Paul Kelly is a big deal in Australia – his latest record went straight to number one and he supported Bob Dylan on his 2011 Aussie tour, although he still remains one of his country’s best-kept secrets for UK audiences. (But everyone knows what Neighbours is. Oh the injustice). The new album “Life is Fine” is a collection alive with energy and good humour, described by the Guardian as containing some of his “best songs in years”. Mark Whitfield caught up with him at the start of the UK leg of his current tour and chatted about how the new record came about, writing songs from poetry and why nobody does Hank Williams songs like Hank Williams. Continue reading “Interview: Paul Kelly”
Paul Kelly is one of the legends of Aussie singer-songwriting, so much so that he’s been Bob Dylan’s support of choice when he’s toured in Australia, but he’s still relatively unknown on UK shores – although to be fair from the fact that his UK dates always all sell out then he’s probably not that best kept a secret. Anyway he’s heading to the UK (and Europe) in September for a handful of dates which include London, Bristol, Manchester, Nottingham, Amsterdam and Paris. And after you’ve perused the finer details, here’s a clip of Paul and Neil Finn playing his 80s antipodean anthem “Leaps & Bounds” Continue reading “Paul Kelly announces UK dates for later this year”