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Paul Kelly (from the album Paul Kelly’s Christmas Train on Cooking Vinyl) (by Lee Zimmerman)
Paul Kelly is far more than an erstwhile troubadour and singer of songs. He's a national treasure in his native Australia, a songwriter and storyteller who's adept at detailing the human condition in descriptive ways that share heart and happenstance in equal measure.
Its little wonder then that Paul Kelly's Christmas Train offers far more than merely a set of sentimental standards. Split evenly between carols, traditional hymns, and original material -- the latter of which features a revisit to one of Kelly's most tender tunes, "How to Make Gravy" -- the album finds an expansive group of guest stars helping Paul Kelly kindle the spirit of the season. It’s a heartfelt homage that evokes a sense of brotherhood and bonding, with songs that share faith, hope, kindness, and compassion. Notably, Kelly and company cast a wide net, one in which the Jewish poem “Shalom Aleichem” and the Islamic prayer “Sarah Maryam” find equal footing with a reverential reboot of ”O Holy Night”, “Little Drummer Boy”, “Silent Night”, and “Coventry Carol”. So too, songs that draw from both secular and spiritual origins are given equal emphasis, the common thread being the emotional bond that binds this sprawling 22 song set.
‘The story of Jesus, Joseph and Mary has strong associations with the two other Abrahamic religions, Judaism and Islam’ Paul Kelly explains in the liner notes that accompany the album, while giving further credence to the universal sentiments that the holidays hold across all religions and nationalities. ‘Exploring Christmas traditions is like going on an archaeological dig’.
Consequently, Paul Kelly's Christmas Train makes any number of important stops in its journey through ritual and circumstance, making this a generally robust celebration of the season. It’s history, tradition, education, and entertainment all wrapped up in one sumptuous set of songs that’s both memorable and meaningful. Embrace the spirit, and climb on board.
(By Lee Zimmerman
Listen and buy the music of Paul Kelly from AMAZON
Please go to the Paul Kelly website for more purchase and artist information
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