40 Days functions as a sketchbook of sorts for the celebrated Aussie singer-songwriter, with Kelly opting for lo-fi recording quality by ripping most of the audio from Instagram videos posted during isolation. Primarily comprised of covers and poems, the record is patchy and fragmented, yet offers an intimate insight into Kelly’s creative process during his late career renaissance.
“I had the videos converted and edited to audio files to make a kind of document,” Kelly said in a statement shared today. “The recordings are rough and ready but, to paraphrase George Jones, ‘Ragged but right is ok with me.’ I was never much of a hi-fi guy anyway. I’m sending this little ship out into the world with the hope that it finds many happy harbours.”
Several tracks on 40 Days also concern themes of isolation, insomnia, drinking and wishing for better days, which Kelly explained as being pertinent towards his experiences in isolation. The album features covers of John Prine and Bill Withers tracks to honour their passings in recent months, as well as Kelly’s take on works by Neil Murray, Bruce Dawe, Emily Dickinson, Hank Williams and more.
Kelly also hinted that he’d be announcing another new release in the coming weeks – make sure you keep your ear to the ground to hear more about that soon.
Listen to Paul Kelly’s new album 40 Days.