Paul Kelly’s ‘Greatest Hits: Songs from the South: Volumes 1 & 2’ to be released in U.S. on Sept. 6
Australian artist plays “A to Z” live dates this September in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Vancouver and Toronto.
MELBOURNE, Australia — In North America, Paul Kelly is loved by a fervent following of devoted, discerning listeners. In his native Australia, though, where his songs are lodged deeply in the country’s soundtrack, Kelly is virtually a national hero.
On September 6, Gawdaggie Music/CEN through RED Distribution will release Kelly’s Songs From the South, Volumes 1 & 2 in the U.S., featuring a quick tour of 40 songs spanning 1985 through 2008. List price for the two-CD set is $13.98, and $9.99 for the digital version.
Additionally, Kelly will come to North America in September to perform his “A to Z” repertoire in five major cities: Chicago (Sept. 12-13), Los Angeles (Sept. 14-15), Vancouver (Sept. 18-19), Toronto (Sept. 23-24) and New York (Sept. 26-27).
In a career that spans more than 30 years, Kelly has released a steady stream of albums that showcase his emotionally vivid, musically expansive songwriting, capturing the essence of the Australian landscape while demonstrating Kelly’s uncanny ability to distill a novel’s worth of narrative and character detail into a straightforward, effortlessly accessible melodic pop tune.
Rolling Stone’s David Fricke has called Kelly “one of the finest songwriters I have ever heard, Australian or otherwise,” while Neil Finn of Crowded House has said, “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.” Or, as his fellow Australian Kasey Chambers put it, “If I was only allowed to listen to one artist for the rest of my life, I would choose Paul Kelly.”
Kelly’s stature as a world-class troubadour is confirmed by the release of Paul Kelly’s Greatest Hits: Songs From the South (Volumes 1 & 2), the most comprehensive compilation to date of his recorded work, on Gawdaggie Music/CEN (distributed by RED). The career-spanning two-CD set features 40 songs drawn from Kelly’s esteemed album catalog, combining fan favorites, rare gems and numerous notable songs previously unreleased in North America.
Songs From the South (Volumes 1 & 2) spearheads an ambitious reissue program that will restore Kelly’s remarkable body of recordings to the American market. The campaign also encompasses his dazzling eight-CD, 105-song live box set The A-Z Recordings, which will be available exclusively via Amazon.com, as will Kelly’s mongrel memoir How To Make Gravy, and its corresponding iPhone and iPad App, which combines the book and the music. His entire (non-A&M) catalog will be made available digitally as well. In January 2012, physical reissues of Kelly’s original albums (most of which have long been out of print, or never released, in America) will begin to become available via Amazon Disc on Demand.
In the years since the release of his 1981 debut album Talk, Kelly has maintained a prolific pace that’s helped to win him a permanent place in the hearts of fans around the world. The Adelaide native first picked up a guitar and began to write songs in his late teens. He traveled extensively around Australia during his youth before settling in Melbourne, where he quickly established himself as a force in that city’s diverse musical community. After stints as a solo folkie and a member of the R&B-influenced pub-rock combo the High Rise Bombers, he won a recording deal with the Mushroom label, for which he recorded the seminal albums Talk, Manila, Post and Gossip, credited variously to Kelly solo and with backup combos the Dots, the Coloured Girls and the Messengers.
Gossip became Kelly’s first U.S. release on A&M Records, which also issued his Under the Sun and So Much Water So Close to Home. Those albums won him reams of stateside critical acclaim, while expanding his loyal U.S. fan base. Kelly continued to stake out new territory on such subsequent releases as Comedy, Wanted Man, Deeper Water, Live at the Continental and the Esplanade, How to Make Gravy, Words and Music, Nothing But A Dream, Ways & Means, Foggy Highway and Stolen Apples. He also branched out stylistically with Smoke, a rootsy collaboration with the Australian bluegrass combo Uncle Bill, as well as an eponymous experimental dub-reggae album recorded as part of the techno-groove ensemble Professor Ratbaggy, and most recently a self-titled album as a member of the studio band Stardust Five.
In recent years, Kelly has showcased both the depth of his songbook and his skills as a solo performer with his long-running series of Paul Kelly A-Z shows, in which the artist works his way through an alphabetical list of more than 100 songs during a four-night stand of unplugged concerts.
In addition to his recording and touring career, Kelly has explored a varied array of other creative pursuits. His interest in aboriginal issues has led him to collaborate with aboriginal songwriter Archie Roach and the multicultural group Yothu Yindi. He wrote songs for, and acted in, the Australian stage play Funerals and Circuses, and has provided music for numerous Australian movies and TV shows, including award-winning scores for the films Lantana, One Night the Moon and Jindabyne. He’s also written songs for several other Australian artists, and was the inspiration for the tribute album Women at the Well, on which 14 female artists performed interpretations of Kelly compositions. Kelly’s “mongrel memoir” How To Make Gravy has won considerable acclaim, including winning the Australian Book Industry Award for best biography, and he’s published four volumes of his song lyrics, and written pieces for the prestigious Australian magazine The Monthly.
Kelly has won also won numerous awards, including eight Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Music Awards, and was induced into that organization’s Hall of Fame in 1997.
In spanning his entire recording career, Songs From the South (Volumes 1 & 2) demonstrates that Paul Kelly’s recent output has remained as adventurous and compelling as the early work that first established him as a major artist. His songs remain as fresh and inspired as ever.
Disc 1, 1985-97:
From St Kilda To Kings Cross
Leaps And Bounds
Before Ttoo Long
Darling It Hurts
Look So Fine, Feel So Low
To Her Door
Everything’s Turning To White
From Little Things Big Things Grow
When I First Met Your Ma
Pouring Petrol On A Burning Man
Love Never Runs On Time
Give In To My Love
How To Make Gravy
Disc 2, 1998-2008:
Nothing On My Mind
I’ll Be Your Lover
Every Fucking City (*the only song we
need to tag with an FCC warning)
Be Careful What You Pray For
Love Is The Law
If I Could Start Today Again
The Oldest Story In The Book
Won’t You Come Around
Your Lovin’ Is On My Mind
Song Of The Old Rake
They Thought I Was Asleep
Everybody Loves You Baby
God Told Me To
You’re 39, You’re Beautiful And You’re Mine
Thoughts In The Middle Of The Night
NORTH AMERICAN TOUR
September 12-13 CHICAGO Schuba’s
September 14-15 LOS ANGELES Hotel Café
September 18-19 VANCOUVER Electric Owl
September 23-24 TORONTO The Dakota Tavern
September 26-27 NEW YORK The Rockwood Music Hall – Stage 2