With Special guest Dan Kelly
Paul Kelly's remarkable new 11-song album "Spring and Fall" -- his 19th studio album and first collection of new material in five years -- ranks with the seminal Australian singer-songwriter's most memorable and resonant work, demonstrating why he's virtually a national hero in his home country and one of the most celebrated songwriters on the planet.
"Spring and Fall" arrives November 6 on the heels of an extended period of retrospective activity, during which Kelly celebrated his extensive body of work with the release of the career-spanning 40-song compilation "Songs From the South (Volumes 1 & 2)" and the eight-CD, 105-song live box set "The A-Z Recordings." In addition, there is an ongoing catalog re-issue campaign underway for his original (non-A&M) albums, most of which have long been out of print, or were never released in North America. He also wrote a book, a well-received "mongrel memoir" titled "How To Make Gravy," the audio book version featured readings from Kelly as well as a bonus disc of readings from some of Australia's greatest actors, including Cate Blanchett, Russell Crowe, Judy Davis and Hugh Jackman. His entire catalog has been re-mastered and re-released through his own label, Gawd Aggie Recordings, distributed by CEN/RED Distribution in the U.S.
In a career that's spanned more than 30 years, Kelly has released a steady stream of albums showcasing his emotionally vivid, musically expansive songwriting and his uncanny ability to distill a novel's worth of narrative and character detail into an effortlessly melodic pop tune.
Amanda Palmer has stated that "His songwriting is up there with the greats... the bittersweet and hard-core honesty of his lyrics is the sort of thing you'll only see once in a lifetime if you're lucky", while Neil Finn of Crowded House asserts, "There is something unique and powerful about the way Kelly mixes up everyday detail with the big issues of life, death, love and struggle -- not a trace of pretense or fakery in there." Australian alt-country diva Kasey Chambers says, "If I was only allowed to listen to one artist for the rest of my life, I would choose Paul Kelly."
The qualities that have made Paul Kelly an inspiration to his fans and peers are prominent throughout "Spring and Fall," which ranks with the artist's finest work in terms of melodic craft, verbal eloquence and emotional insight, with evocatively spare arrangements that set the ideal tone for such thematically related new Kelly compositions as "When A Woman Loves A Man", "New Found Year", "Someone New" and "Time and Tide."
"'Spring and Fall' is a song cycle," Kelly explains. "It's been five years since I made a record, and perhaps the experience of writing a book during that time made me attuned to the idea of developing a close-knit structure for the next album I did. I knew I didn't just want to put out a collection of songs that were loosely related to each other.
"I know that people are listening to music more and more now in a grazing kind of way, picking a song here and a song there, and that spurred me on to try and make a record that would take a stand on behalf of the album," he continues. "I'm a music grazer myself, but there is still a deep satisfaction in encountering a set of songs that unfolds from start to finish and demands to be heard in its entirety. So "Spring and Fall" has an arc suggested by its title. There are multiple viewpoints, with links from song to song, and each song contains the seed of the song that follows. They are all love songs and the album is a love story."
Kelly, accompanied by noted Australian producer/multi-instrumentalist J. Walker from Machine Translations and Paul's frequent tour guitarist (and nephew) Dan Kelly, recorded most of the album in an isolated country hall in the hills of the remote rural region of South Gippsland in Victoria, Australia in the dead of a turbulent winter, with violent storms, floods, power failures and mild earthquakes regularly threatening to throw the project into turmoil. Despite the threats from nature, the pieces ultimately fell into place, with the sessions emphasizing the immediacy of the live, up-close performances and stark, stripped-down arrangements, with the sounds of the wind and the rain occasionally getting into the microphones. The result is one of the most effortlessly compelling albums of Kelly's storied career.
"Dan and I have worked a lot as a duo over the last five years, and a sound has developed between us -- intimate yet spacious -- that we wanted to retain in the studio," Kelly explains. "In line with keeping the story paramount was the desire to make the songs as concise as possible. Our philosophy was to try and make them work with as little instrumentation as possible. We mostly achieved what we set out to do. The songs stayed short and the story kept moving. No song is over four minutes long and three of them came in under three, which for some reason tickles me a lot. Sub-three-minute songs are all I want to write from now on!"
While he's best known in America for such acclaimed albums as "Gossip," "Under the Sun," "So Much Water So Close to Home," "Comedy," "Wanted Man" and "Deeper Water," Paul Kelly's prolific body of work incorporates a wide array of departures, collaborations and side projects. He's recorded as a member of the studio supergroup Stardust Five, branched out stylistically to record an album with the Australian bluegrass combo Uncle Bill and created experimental dub-reggae as part of the techno-groove ensemble Professor Ratbaggy. His interest in aboriginal issues has led him to collaborate with aboriginal songwriter Archie Roach and the multicultural group Yothu Yindi.
He also provided award-winning musical scores for the films "Lantana," "One Night the Moon" and "Jindabyne"; and wrote songs for, and acted in, the Australian stage play "Funerals and Circuses." He's written songs for several other Australian artists, and was the inspiration for the tribute album "Women at the Well," on which 14 female performers interpreted Kelly compositions. He's published four volumes of his song lyrics, and written pieces for the prestigious Australian magazine The Monthly. Kelly was recently the focus of an all-star tribute concert in Melbourne honoring his 30th anniversary as a recording artist, and in 2012 was the subject of the feature-length documentary "Paul Kelly: Stories of Me" (which will be released on DVD in North America in Sept. of 2013).
Beyond the copious tributes and accolades, it's Paul Kelly's songs, and his knack for performing them with maximum conviction, that makes him a world-class creative force, and "Spring and Fall" ranks with his most powerful work. After more than three decades of music-making, his work remains every bit as adventurous and inspired as ever.
Daniel "Dan" Kelly is an Australian singer-songwriter and guitarist. He is the second oldest of six children and the nephew of Paul Kelly. He grew up in Queensland and learnt the guitar at thirteen, studying Environmental Science at University, in Brisbane, in 1990. He formed his first band, Nord, in Brisbane before moving to Melbourne in 1996, where in 2000 he started playing solo shows, under the name Dank Alley, not wanting to trade on his famous uncle's name. In May, 2003 he released his first solo EP, Man O Mercy, which spawned the radio hit "Countermeal Kim".
The next year he formed a new band, Dan Kelly and the Alpha Males, comprising Kelly with Gareth Liddiard (The Drones), Christian Strybosch (The Drones) and Tom Carlyon (The Devastations). They were best known for the falsetto vocal stylings of Kelly, touring alongside Dallas Crane, Dan Brodie and The Broken Arrows, Even, as well as at The Falls Festival in Melbourne and Tasmania and selected Big Day Outs. In March 2004 they released their debut album, Sing the Tabloid Blues, on In-Fidelity Recordings. Kelly was nominated for 'Best Male Artist', with the band receiving two nominations for 'Best Independent Release' and 'Breakthrough Artist' for the album at the 2004 ARIA Awards. At the same time Kelly also joined his uncle's band, Paul Kelly and the Boon Companions, performing on his 2004 album, Ways & Means.
In 2005 Liddiard and Carlyon travelled to Europe with their respective other projects, with Aaron Cupples, Dan Luscombe and Lewis Boyes joining the Alpha Males. The band then released an EP, Pirate Radio, in October, 2005. Kelly receiving his second 'Best Male Artist' ARIA Award nomination for the release. The band gained significant press coverage in mid-2006 when their single "Drunk on Election Night" - a reflection on the disillusionment many experienced during the evening of the Australian federal election, 2004 - was hand picked by Neil Young to be included in his "Living With War Songs of The Times".
Their second album, Drowning in the Fountain of Youth, released in August, 2006, was awarded Album of the Year 2006 by Melbourne-based music magazine Inpress. Kelly received his third nomination for 'Best Male Artist' at the 2007 ARIA Awards. The album was also short-listed for the 2006 J Award. In early 2007, Dan Kelly announced his backing band, the Alpha Males, were to disband for an undecided amount of time to allow the individual members to focus on other projects, a pertinent example being the addition of Dan Luscombe to the line up of fellow Melbourne outfit, The Drones. Kelly again joined his uncle, performing on his 2007 album, Stolen Apples and subsequent national tour and has often returned to his touring band since.
In 2008 he teamed up with Melbourne faux Hawaiian duo, The Ukeladies, to release "The S.U.V Song", undertaking a number of headline shows and support shows with Augie March, in October and November 2008.
In late 2009 Kelly commenced work on a new album, Dan Kelly's Dream (formerly The Decommisioner). The first single, "Bindi Irwin Apocalypse Jam", was released in April 2010. Kelly undertook a national tour with a new line up called Dan Kelly's Dream Band comprising Dave Williams and Kiernan Box (from Augie March), Indra Adams (from Ground Components) and Ryan Nelson (from SubAudible Hum). Dallas Packard (Ground Components), Alpha Male Lewis Boyes and Kelly's teenage cousins Madeleine and Memphis Kelly (daughters of Paul Kelly) also featured on the album, with the girls frequently joining the touring band on stage to provide backing vocals.
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