Paul Kelly Presents the Merri Soul Sessions
Sunday 12 April 2015
Paul Kelly is pleased to announce another innovative chapter in his long-standing career. This December Australia’s most prolific and innovative singer song writer will release ‘Paul Kelly Presents – The Merri Soul Sessions, his 20th studio album.
Earlier this year, Paul assembled his touring band and an exciting group of singers to record a set of new songs as well as one old classic. The tracks were performed live in the studio by Clairy Browne, Vika and Linda Bull, Dan Sultan, Kira Puru and Paul himself.
Paul Kelly explains ...
“In recent years doing band shows with Vika and Linda, Vika had been singing Sweet Guy, an old song of mine, and bringing the house down each time. I was keen to record her version and thought, naturally, that if we were going into the studio we should try and get some other songs on tape as well. I had a song in mind for Linda. I wrote a couple of songs with Dan Sultan that had a soul kind of feeling. And a couple of recent songs of mine, as yet unrecorded, came back into view. They seemed to fit well with the others. Having half a dozen songs now that were talking to each other helped me write a couple more. This is how it goes. One thing leads to another. You never quite know what’s happening ‘til you’re in the middle of it.
I started to imagine a soul revue type record performed live in the studio with a variety of singers and the one band. I’d fallen in love with Clairy Browne and The Bangin’ Rackettes’ Love Letter, the sound of it as well as the song, so invited Clairy and the producer of that record, Steve Schram, to get involved. I’d seen Kira Puru perform One Eye Open live on YouTube and thought she might be the one to nail I Don’t Know What I’d Do, a song left off ‘Spring and Fall’ because I couldn’t sing it myself yet. It needed a torch singer who could balance light and dark. Plus, I loved the way she sang with a big glass of red wine never out of her hand. She, Clairy and Steve, thankfully, all said yes. Meanwhile Vika and Linda had started singing live the two songs Dan and I had written. The stew was simmering on the stove.
From February 17th to March 1st this year we camped in Soundpark Studios, Northcote, right by Merri Creek and recorded a song a day. Sundays off. Our general routine was to rehearse with the band in the morning, getting the song into some kind of shape sonically and piecing out a rough arrangement. The singers would come in later and take it home. We finished all the songs we had in mind a day early so I had time to write a gospel song Hasn’t It Rained as an album closer.
The band comprises Peter Luscombe, drums and percussion; Bill McDonald, bass; Ash Naylor guitar, electric mainly; Cam Bruce, piano and organ; Vika and Linda, harmonies when they aren’t singing lead; and me on rhythm guitar. Dan Kelly guests on one song Keep On Coming Back For More.”