DIARY - 12 JULY 2005 - PAUL KELLY
KELLY & THE STORMWATER BOYS
FOGGY HIGHWAY (EMI)
phenomenal success of O Brother in a sea of schmaltz spooked herds
of one trick ponies to gallop through the genre.
But as an experienced world traveller Paul Kelly doesn't have to fabricate
Appalachia or the bluegrass fields of Kentucky.
Kelly hooked up with multi-instrumentalist and prolific producer Rod
McCormack for his 19th album - a sequel of sorts to 1999 disc Smoke
with Uncle Bill.
The singer entrees with hook heavy Stumbling Block but boxing
tents in agricultural shows of past eras in Gippsland and beyond ignite
Rally Around The Drum - a 1992 co-write with rural refugee
Kelly is rarely geographically specific on a disc featuring McCormack
on guitar, Ian Simpson on banjo, bassist James Gillard, Mick Albeck
on fiddle-violin and veteran mandolin player Trev Warner.
retreats to 1989 disc So Much Water So Close To Home for Cities
Of Texas but relies on personal parables, tales of redemption, suffering
and death for fuel.
Fear of death permeates a seasoned title track that benefits from a bluegrass
But premature departure of children haunts Ghost Town and Passed
Over - one of two songs featuring Gerry Hale, Simpson, Jim Fisher,
Nigel McLean and Fred Kuhnl.
There's pathos in Song Of The Old Rake and forbidden love in Don't
Stand So Close To The Window, reprised from 1988.
not clear if death was the stimulus for Kelly - one of eight siblings
who lost their sire way too soon - for childhood memories of parental
tears in a car trip in They Thought I Was Asleep.
But the post sleep imagery that sweetens Down To My Soul has
realism akin to starkly contrasting sentiments of historic Louvin
Brothers tune You're Learning with Kasey Chambers as guest
It's no surprise Kelly finishes with an a capella treatment of Meet
Me In The Middle Of The Air, reportedly inspired by
a Shelley poem on the transitory nature of life.
Kelly may not have commercial clout of bluegrass belles Rhonda Vincent
and Alison Krauss but his purist passion makes this credible.
production ensures Kelly's distinctive sound is not lost in a disc to
be promoted in a July tour.
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