Thursday, January 31, 2013

Paul Kelly at the Grammy Museum, Los Angeles

by Andy Doherty
On Tuesday night, I was fortunate enough to attend "An Evening with Paul Kelly" at the Grammy Museum in LA.

Held in the intimate Clive Davis Theater (capacity: 200), it was moderated by the museum's executive director, Bob Santelli. 

Kelly is an acclaimed adult alternative singer/songwriter from Australia, who started releasing albums in the Eighties as a member of The Dots and later, the Coloured Girls and the Messengers.

Although Kelly has several gold and platinum-selling releases at home, he's basically recognized in America for the mid-'80s songs "Darling it Hurts" and "Dumb Things," which received college radio airplay and a stellar '90s run of records on the Vanguard label.

Known for having a keen eye for observational lyrics and frequent soundtrack work, Kelly put out 19th studio album and first in five years, Spring and Fall, this past November. Featuring delicate, gorgeous music primarily handled by Kelly and nephew Dan, the wonderful song cycle charts the highs and lows of a relationship.

At the museum, Kelly performed five songs ("For the Ages," "Cold as Canada," "Little Aches and Pains" from the new album) live on acoustic guitar, harmonica and piano.

He talked about some of his formative influences as a young musician with Santelli (Gram Parsons and the Flying Burrito Brothers, John Cale, Iggy Pop) and said his songs are often informed by novelists like Raymond Carver. 

While discussing his memoir "How to Make Gravy," the artist admitted to liking prose writing and setting aside time each day to do it, with no music done at the time. 

Other interesting tidbits...

On the new album: The song cycle was influenced by classical music. Dan served as his critic/sounding board by giving his uncle a certain facial expression when something didn't feel right. 

On family life: Kelly has three young adult children who are also in the music biz. He produced an EP by his daughters' trio. 

Fan favorite "To Her Door" took seven years to finish.

He doesn't consider music to be an art form. 

A U.S. tour commences this spring.

No comments: