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Paul Kelly Releases New Album of Quarantine Recordings, ‘Forty Days’

“I’m sending this little ship out into the world with the hope that it finds many happy harbours,” Paul Kelly says of his new collection of recordings.

Paul Kelly*

Cybele Malinowski/Press

Paul Kelly has shared a brand new collection of songs today, with Forty Days consisting of tracks recorded during the musician’s time spent in quarantine.

Since global lockdowns and COVID-19 quarantine kicked off in late March, Kelly – like countless others around the world – have found themselves trapped within the confines of their own homes. To help pass the time though, Kelly took to social media, performing a number of songs and poems and filming them on his phone at home.

While some of these tracks were penned by writers whose work touched upon relevant themes – including dry pubs, insomnia, and separation – others commemorated the likes of singers and poets – such as Bill Withers, John Prine, and Bruce Dawe – who all left us recently.

Now, Kelly is set to release these songs on a brand new collection titled Forty Days, which showcases the music performed by the critically-acclaimed artist during the titular period of time in quarantine.

“I noticed that the recordings spanned a period of roughly forty days and was aware that ‘forty days’ in Italian is ‘quaranta giorni’, the origin of our word ‘quarantine’,” Kelly explains. “(During the Black Death in Europe from the 14th century onwards ships were required to be isolated for forty days before passengers and crew could go ashore.)

“So I had the videos converted and edited to audio files to make a kind of document,” he added. “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.”

Available for download and streaming now, Kelly’s Forty Days arrives with the promise of a new album set to be announced very soon. Details are yet to be revealed, so stay tuned for more information as it arrives.

Paul Kelly – Forty Days tracklist:

1. ‘Pub With No Beer’ – Gordon Noel Parsons
2. ‘September 1, 1939 (extract)’ – W H Auden
3. ‘Hey Good Lookin” – Hank Williams
4. ‘You and Sarajevo’ – Bruce Dawe
5. ‘Grandma’s Hands’ – Bill Withers
6. ‘Paradise’ – John Prine
7. ‘Hope Is The Thing With Feathers’ – Emily Dickinson
8. ‘Everything is Plundered’ – Anna Akhmatova
9. ‘Passed Over’ – Paul Kelly
10. ‘Thoughts In The Middle Of The Night’ – Paul Kelly
11. ‘Four A.M. ‘– Wislawa Szymborska
12. ‘Sonnet 73’ – Paul Kelly / William Shakespeare
13. ‘Quarantine’ – Eavan Boland
14. ‘My Island Home’ – Neil Murray
15. ‘Stumbling Block’ – Paul Kelly