Penguin Eggs

Tuesday, 31 March 2020 13:55

Paul Kelly - The Penguin Eggs Interview

Written by Roddy Campbell
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Australia’s most audacious and literate songwriter discusses his extraordinary 35-year career.

It seems fairly absurd that Paul Kelly doesn’t fill football stadiums worldwide. One of the most consistently adventurous and literate songwriters on the planet throughout the past 35-odd years, he attracts a mere cult following outside of his native Australia wherein his iconic status is ironclad.

The diversity of his 25 sterling studio albums can rattle with the antics of ska or soar with the high lonesome intricacy of bluegrass yet still flirts with every imaginable genre in-between. No stranger to the national pop charts, his indomitable songs deal with such essential topics as Aboriginal land rights, the environment, and…erm…cricket, in equal measures of humour and pathos. His inspiration, he says, is scavenged from such unlikely and disparate sources as author Raymond Carver and playwright and poet William Shakespeare. Amongst his numerous projects, Kelly has championed and co-written with such celebrated Aboriginal songwriters as Archie Roach and Kerv Carmody, both familiar to Canadian folk festivals. Of late, though, Kelly has recorded several impressive albums of international poetry set to music, both in a classical and folk setting.

Clearly not quite ready for a rocking chair, pipe, and slippers, Kelly has released five albums in the past three years, including Life Is Fine (2017), which gave him his first No. 1 in Australia. Most recently, he released in Canada the quite wonderful and updated Paul Kelly’s Greatest Hits: Songs From The South 1985-2019...

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