Paul Kelly is adored in his native Australia, widely considered to be one of his homeland’s most accomplished singer/songwriters. He’s built an impressive discography over the years, with more than two dozen albums to his credit since 1981. For latest project “The Merri Soul Sessions,” however, Kelly turned to a host of guest singers — including Clairy Browne, Vika & Linda Bull, Dan Sultan and Kira Puru — for a soul summit of sorts.
“I started to imagine a soul revue type record performed live in the studio with a variety of singers and the one band,” Kelly explains. “From Feb. 17 to March 1 (of last year) we camped in Soundpark Studios in Australia and recorded a song a day, with Sundays off.”
Initially, “The Merri Soul Sessions” was released as a series of four 7-inch vinyl singles, but for the U.S. release all eight of those tunes have been included along with three new tracks. The results are nothing short of spectacular, with Kelly & Co. delivering the goods on keepers “What You Want,” “Keep on Coming Back for More,” “Where Were You When I Needed You,” “Thank You,” “I Don’t Know What I’d Do” and gospel-tinged closer “Hasn’t It Rained.” Good stuff. (Jeffrey Sisk)