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Interview:
Paul Kelly at the Magic Bag, 3 Things To Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

» See more SOUND CHECK

Paul Kelly’s new album is titled “Life Is Fine,” and that’s certainly the case for the veteran Australian troubadour.

The album, Kelly’s 23rd overall, is his first set of original material in five years, following a pair of releases for which he put William Shakespeare’s words to music. It’s brought about his first full-band tour of North American in 13 years, and back home Kelly was named an Officer of the Order of Australia for his artistic contributions to his homeland.

Like any good singer-songwriter, of course, “Life Is Good’s” title is a touch ironic, but even if he’s musing on the ills of the world Kelly acknowledges he has little to complain about...

• Kelly, 62, says by phone that he approached the new album as “a real band record, more fun and playful. I’ve been playing some of these songs over the last two or three years, and especially with the last two (albums) being more meditative and thoughtful I knew I wanted to come out with something in complete contrast. that’s been the plan for the last couple of years, really.”

• The albums of adapting Shakespeare did make an impact on Kelly’s work, however. “Yeah, definitely -- not just the Shakespeare but in the last five or six years I’ve gotten into the habit of putting poetry to music,” he explains. “If I like a poem I put music to that. That’s a new thing for me. I never thought you could start with the words first; For some reason I had the idea in my head that to write beginning with the words constrains the music, puts it all on too rigid of a rail. I was completely wrong. So this gave me a new way of writing songs, and I’ve been putting poems to music since, writing to other people’s words, or to my own.”

• For his current tour, Kelly and his band are playing “Life Is Fine” in its entirety, front to back. “The record really fits the band, and pretty much after it came out I knew I wanted to play it like this,” Kelly says. “I could go out and play the songs solo, I guess, but it really needed to be done with the band this time. So I thought the best way to do that was to play the record as it is, and it’s working well. We hit the stage with a bang and people are responding really well to it.”



If You Go:

• Paul Kelly And Jess Cornelius

• Saturday, Oct. 7. Doors open at 8 p.m.

• The Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale.

• Tickets are $15.

• Call 248-544-1991 or visit themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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