Paul Kelly / Nature
Release Date: Oct. 12, 2018
Label/Distributor: Gawd Aggie/Cooking Vinyl
Genre: Americana / Singer-Songwriter
All songs written by Paul Kelly
“[Paul Kelly is] one of the finest songwriters I have ever heard, Australian or otherwise.”
David Fricke, Rolling Stone
“[Paul Kelly is] a songwriter whose peers are few; they include Townes Van Zandt, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Elvis Costello and Ronnie Lane.”
Thom Jurek, All Music Guide
Following the triumphant success of his 2017 album Life Is Fine, Australia’s greatest and most enduring songwriter, Paul Kelly, returns in 2018 with his new studio album Nature, set for global release on October 12.
Nature is launched by the single “With the One I Love” and a video directed by Siân Darling, shot in Melbourne’s Old Magistrates’ Court, where Ned Kelly was famously tried and sentenced to death in 1880. Kelly explains, “I’m on trial in the witness box, Mojo Juju plays the judge and Vika and Linda are my defence lawyers.”
“With the One I Love” continues in a rocking spirit similar to that of last year’s “Firewood and Candles” (which won Paul the coveted APRA Award in Australia for Song of the Year) and again echoes the melodic guitar rock of Paul’s ’80s work with the Messengers.
Kelly entered the studio in Melbourne earlier this year to record Nature with his esteemed band: Peter Luscombe on drums, Bill McDonald on bass, Ash Naylor and Dan Kelly on guitars, and Cameron Bruce on keyboards. “I love playing with them,” he says. “They can morph from delicate scientists to big riff rockers and all states in between.” The album also features the vocals of Vika and Linda Bull, his daughters Madeleine and Memphis Kelly, Alice Keath and Kate Miller-Heidke.
Nature brings together poems from five literary greats — Dylan Thomas, Walt Whitman, Sylvia Plath, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Phillip Larkin — alongside poems that Kelly wrote himself and later put to music, and his own original songs that came along in the usual way, as sounds sung to chords that then turned into words.
Explaining the creative process behind Nature, Kelly says, “I’ve been playing around with poems since 2012 and it’s now become another way for me to write songs. I think most writers get sick of themselves and their own habits so it’s a happy surprise, after 40 years of writing songs, to find a new way.
“What links them all is the natural world — trees, birds, animals, plants, dust, desert, water —and human nature’s small place in that world. Most of the pieces were written over the last four years in and around the recording sessions for The Merri Soul Sessions, Seven Sonnets and a Song and Life Is Fine. I didn’t realise I had the makings of another album until I put the songs in a folder and saw the titles staring me in the face. Sometimes you don’t know what you’re doing until you look back.
“I think of Nature as a companion piece to Life Is Fine, itself full of moons, rain, rocks, rivers, seas, smells and lovers.”
Kelly’s Platinum-certified 2017 album Life Is Fine debuted at #1 on the ARIA Albums Chart, giving Paul his first ARIA Number One album in his long career. At last year’s ARIA Awards — Australia’s equivalent to the GRAMMYs — Kelly took home Best Male and Best Adult Contemporary Album, along with Best Cover Art and Engineer of the Year. These results ensured Kelly a remarkable 14 ARIA Award wins from a career tally of 51 nominations.
Nature will be available physically in both standard and deluxe versions. The standard version is the 12-song single-disc CD and vinyl.