Terrific article on the current US Paul Kelly tour at the San Francisco Chronicle.
Kelly, an Australian icon who’s written hundreds of songs during a career that stretches back into the 1980s, decided to explore much of his catalogue in alphabetical order, some 100 different songs over a four-night run.
In what Kelly jokes is a “slowly-unfolding accident,” there’s now a box set of live “A to Z” recordings and an accompanying memoir on his songwriting. He on an “A to Z” tour in the United States, four nights in some cities, two compressed nights in others.
Standing by the bar at a recent Los Angeles show was songwriter Lucinda Williams, who had been unfamiliar with Kelly’s work. By the end of the night, she was in tears, her husband Tom Overby later wrote online. “I am humbled,” she said, calling Kelly “a great songwriter.”
After Kelly decided to put out a box set of recordings, he sat down to write some accompanying text. He wrote several pages on “Adelaide” alone, including the familial trouble caused by his decision — for writerly effect — to describe several aunts as “insane.”
Kelly realized there was a book there. Called “How to Make Gravy” after one of his best-known songs, it took him three years to write. As a tribute to his status back home, Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett and Hugh Jackman all read Kelly’s writing for the audio book version.