Man for all sea­sons Paul Kelly.................

Paul Kelly tours his song cy­cle across the land, writes Toni Ma­son

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY CONTENTS -

TOUR­ING a new record is a task de­manded of Aus­tralian mu­si­cians – and af­ter 19 stu­dio al­bums, Paul Kelly is no stranger to the road.

How­ever, the singer and song­writer many Aus­tralian mu­si­cians re­vere hasn’t had a new al­bum to tour for a while, tak­ing a five-year break af­ter his 2007 al­bum, Stolen Ap­ples, which was both a crit­i­cal and com­mer­cial suc­cess.

Kelly says the gap in mak­ing mu­sic was be­cause of his book: How To Make Gravy: A to Z, A Mon­grel Mem­oir. He says putting to­gether the sto­ries around the 100 of his songs that com­prise How To Make Gravy, which took him about two years to write, shut down the creative part of Kelly that makes mu­sic.

‘‘It was sort of like an­other part of the brain for writ­ing froze,’’ Kelly says.

While some of his fans may have favourite tunes on his new­est re­lease, Spring and Fall, Kelly him­self can’t sep­a­rate any out be­cause of the way the al­bum was put to­gether. Es­sen­tially charting the life of a ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ship, it jux­ta­poses songs of dis­cov­ery with songs of re­gret and loss.

‘‘I sort of think of it as one long song, or one long story,’’ Kelly says.

‘‘We di­vide it up into side one and side two . . . side two gets a bit dark but that could be my favourite be­cause I like play­ing the darker songs.’’

Kelly says the idea for the al­bum came af­ter he looked at three songs he had al­ready writ­ten – When A Woman Loves A Man, which evokes new love; the look­ing-for-in­fi­delity tune Some­one New and the break-up song Cold as Canada.

‘‘I re­alised I had three points along a sto­ry­line. I had the be­gin­ning of love, I had the turn­ing point and I had the leave-tak­ing song.’’

Kelly says all that re­mained was to write the rest of the tracks that would fit within the story arc of a re­la­tion­ship that flow­ers, blooms and dies.

While this al­bum vir­tu­ally de­mands the lis­tener fol­low the song cy­cle from be­gin­ning to end, Kelly de­nies he’s re­belling in any way against the no­tion of down­load­ing se­lected al­bum tracks.

‘‘I do it as much as any­one; I like to be able to lis­ten to a cou­ple of tracks off some­one’s al­bum,’’ he says.

‘‘When I was younger and I liked a par­tic­u­lar song by an artist but it wasn’t a sin­gle, I would have to go and buy the record, and the record might only have a cou­ple of good songs on it.’’

When Kelly takes Spring and Fall on the road ac­com­pa­nied by his nephew Dan Kelly (who co-wrote some of the songs), his fans will hear the al­bum in its stripped-back en­tirety.

He says the sparse­ness of the mu­si­cal ar­range­ments was in his mind from the start.

‘‘I wanted to keep the songs short be­cause if you’re ask­ing the lis­ten­ers to lis­ten to some­thing as one piece you want to keep the mo­men­tum go­ing,’’ he says.

‘‘We don’t have long in­tros, we don’t have ex­tended mu­si­cal sec­tions, we don’t have a lot of dis­trac­tions around the melody and the lyrics.’’

On this tour, Kelly says he and his five-piece band, which now boasts a fe­male rhythm sec­tion, will play a two-hour set. It will be­gin with the song cy­cle of Spring and Fall be­fore he brings out some older tunes.

Kelly says he’s look­ing for­ward to the tour, es­pe­cially head­ing north to the Gold Coast.

‘‘I think we just wanted to get out of Melbourne dur­ing the win­ter,’’ he says, laugh­ing.

Spring and Fall is out now. Paul Kelly and Urth­boy play The Arts Cen­tre Gold Coast on July 30 and QPAC, in Bris­bane, on Au­gust 1.

Paul Kelly is tour­ing with a five-piece band that in­cludes a new fe­male rhythm sec­tion.

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