Paul Kelly is one of Australia’s pre-eminent singer-songwriters and wordsmiths, so it’s no surprise that his most treasured possession is his 20kg three volumes of the ‘Collected works of William Shakespeare’. The works within those pages have served as a deep influence throughout his 30 year career and have now found more direct expression in ‘Seven Sonnets & A Song’.
‘Seven Sonnets & A Song’ features Paul singing lead vocals on 6 of Shakespeare’s sonnets and a song from Twelfth Night. The only non-Shakespearian piece is ‘My True Love Hath My Heart’, written by his contemporary Sir Philip Sidney and sung here by Vika Bull. The record will be available digitally and as a 10” vinyl.
The sonnets were recorded in various studios over the last 18 months. Musicians performing on them include Lucky Oceans and Alice Keath, as well as members of Paul’s band, Peter Luscombe, Bill McDonald, Ash Naylor, Cameron Bruce, and Vika and Linda Bull.
To be revealed over the coming month will be the music and videos for ‘Sonnet 73’ by Sunny Leunig, ‘Sonnet 18’ by Lucy Dyson and ‘My True Love Hath My Heart’ by Andy Doherty.
The record will be available to download from midnight GMT as April 22nd ticks over to April 23rd, the day of Shakespeare’s death 400 years ago. It will be launched with live appearances by Paul on April 23rd at the State Library of NSW in conjunction with Sydney Writers’ Festival and Bell Shakespeare and at The Wheeler Centre in Melbourne.
Over the past thirty years, Paul’s influential career has seen him release 20 studio albums, several film soundtracks and two live albums. ‘Seven Sonnets & A Song’ is Paul’s 21st studio release. The mini-album follows his latest record ‘Paul Kelly presents The Merri Soul Sessions’ featuring Dan Sultan, Clairy Browne, Kira Puru and Vika and Linda Bull, and song cycles ‘Spring And Fall’ and ‘Conversations with Ghosts’.
As Paul says “Just about anything you want to say, Shakespeare’s said it already.”
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