To everything there is a season. For Paul Kelly, it's time to get the electric guitar out of the case to create one of the most powerful albums of his career.
That's Life Is Fine -- due out in North America on Gawd Aggie/Cooking Vinyl via The Orchard on August 11, 2017 -- in which Kelly fires up with a band of long-time musical friends, captures all the excitement of them playing live in the studio, and delivers a record that crackles with an energy that is reminiscent of his finest '80s recordings.
Paul enjoys touring and in support of the new album, he will tour the continent with a full band -- his first such North American tour in13 years, since the Ways & Means album.
Sonic diversity rules on the new collection, from the R&B grooves in the sizzling opener, "Rising Moon," to jumping rockers ("Firewood and Candles," "Rock Out on the Sea"), to fun tracks ("Leah: The Sequel") to exquisite and rich tunes (such as "Letters in the Rain," "Petrichor"). Life Is Fine is one of Kelly's strongest and most evocative albums, another treasure to sit proudly on the shelf beside any of his earlier classics.
Kelly agrees about the comparison with those albums he made with the Messengers, such as Gossip and So Much Water So Close To Home. "I was aware of that as we were making it," Kelly says. "The guitar riff at the start of "Firewood and Candles" (the first single/focus track) is like a Sunnyboys song. Those kind of guitar lines, nothing fancy but really strong, are like the ones Steve Connolly used to play with the Messengers. I can see a lot of parallels to those records I was making then."
Life Is Fine features some guest vocalists via powerful singers Vika and Linda Bull. "I wonder why I hadn't thought of it sooner, to have another voice on my records besides mine. A lot of my favorite bands have that. The Stones have Keith Richards, the Velvet Underground had Nico. Vika sings "My Man's Got a Cold," which has a Bessie Smith attitude. "Don't Explain" is sung by Linda. It's at least 25 years old. I have been trying to get a woman to sing it for that long."
"I knew I wanted it to be an upbeat record," Kelly says. "We worked with Steve Schram, who engineered and co-produced. He likes to work really fast and get the performance of the band live in the studio, vocals and all at the same time. There are lots of different ways to make records but that's the way I like to do it now." Featured musicians include Ashley Naylor on guitar, Bill McDonald on bass, Cameron Bruce on keys and Peter Luscombe on drums.