Following the recent releases of his song cycles, Spring and Fall and Conversations with Ghosts, Paul Kelly has announced a new project that teams his touring band and a group of guest singers to record a set of new songs as well as one old classic. The songs were performed live in the studio by Clairy Browne, Vika and Linda Bull, Dan Sultan, Kira Puru and Kelly himself.
Dubbed The Merri Soul Sessions, the music will be released via PledgeMusic as a series of four 7-inch vinyl singles (double A-side) over six months from July 2014. This will be followed by an album in early 2015 containing all of the singles and three more songs.
Each vinyl single can be bought individually or combined in a limited edition Box Set. Only 1,000 of the 7-inch Box Sets will be manufactured. They will also be available as digital downloads. More details are available via PledgeMusic at www.pledgemusic.com/projects/merrisoul
The first single is ‘Keep On Coming Back For More,’ featuring Clairy Browne, and ‘What You Want’, featuring Vika Bull.
“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,” explains Kelly. “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’.”
Paul Kelly presents – The Merri Soul Sessions, the full album, will be available through regular retail channels from February 2015. Prior to that, fans will have the special opportunity to pre-order and receive the special collector’s editions detailed below.
A five-minute film by Andy Doherty featuring live footage with an insight into the sessions can be viewed here:
7-inch vinyl singles (available in retail outlets, iTunes and via PledgeMusic).
A series of four 7-inch vinyl records will be released, one every two months from July. Each 7-inch features two tracks from the forthcoming album and a digital download of the single.
7-inch vinyl Box Set (limited edition and available exclusively via PledgeMusic).
Fans who purchase the special collectors’ box will receive the first 7-inch single when it is released in July. Each of the subsequent 7-inch singles will be automatically mailed to them every two months from then. Only 1,000 Box Sets will be manufactured. Purchasers will also be entitled to a free digital download of the full album released in February 2015.
12-inch vinyl Deluxe Edition (available exclusively via PledgeMusic).
For those seeking something a little extra, the Deluxe Edition will be released in conjunction with the full album in February 2015. This will feature special packaging and exclusive extras along with a heavyweight 12-inch vinyl record and a digital download of the full album. Stay tuned to the website for more information.
‘Paul Kelly presents – The Merri Soul Sessions’ Schedule of Releases:
7-inch vinyl box set (limited edition available exclusively via PledgeMusic – www.pledgemusic.com/projects/merrisoul): from July 2014
7″ Single number 1: July 2014
‘Keep On Coming Back For More’, featuring Clairy Browne
‘What You Want’, featuring Vika Bull
7″ Single number 2: September 2014
‘I Don’t Know What I’d Do’, featuring Kira Puru
‘Thank You’, featuring Paul Kelly
7″ Single number 3: November 2014
‘Smells Like Rain’, featuring Linda Bull
‘Don’t Let A Good Thing Go’, featuring Dan Sultan
7″ Single number 4: January 2015
‘Sweet Guy’, featuring Vika Bull
‘Down On The Jetty’, featuring Vika and Linda Bull
The Album on 12” Vinyl Deluxe, 12″ Vinyl, CD and Digital: February 2015
Contains 11 tracks, including 3 never before released.