Paul Kelly: Prodding The Aging Muse

“I don’t want to write the same kind of songs all the time,” the veteran artist says.

[caption id="attachment_199507" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Photo by Steve Young[/caption] Paul Kelly is a big deal in his native Australia. He has won 10 ARIA Music Awards, the country’s equivalent of the Grammies, and was elected to the Australian Recording Industry Association’s Hall of Fame in 1997. He has had 16 top-20 albums in his homeland, and his songs have been recorded by Nick Cave, Kasey Chambers, the Divinyls’ Christine Amphlett and many more. Like other aging legends, the 62-year-old Kelly could easily have taken a well deserved victory lap, recording celebrity-duet versions of his past songs or five discs of Sinatra covers. Instead, Kelly has found ways to keep writing fascinating songs, and just this past August Life Is Fine became his first-ever #1 Australian album. He’s done it by prodding his aging muse whatever way he can: by using new instruments, by penning the sequel to someone else’s song, by writing in the voice of a different gender, by grabbing hold of an unusual word or phrase, by digging up abandoned old songs, anything that will get the juices flowing. He knows you can’t just sit around and wait for the muse to do all the work for you. “I…

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