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CD REVIEW: PAUL KELLY & CHARLIE OWEN – Death’s Dateless Night

| 28 November 2016 | Reply

CD REVIEW: PAUL KELLY & CHARLIE OWEN – Death’s Dateless Night
Gawdaggie/Universal
October 2016
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
7 ½ /10

paul-kelly-charlie-owen-deaths-dateless-night

With a name like Death’s Dateless Night and an upcoming tour of churches, there’s a temptation to expect this collaboration between Australia’s premier storytelling troubadour Paul Kelly, and Charlie Owen – the go-to session guitarist of choice to most in the know – to be funereal.

True enough, there are moments of sombre lament amongst these twelve tracks, not least lean opener Hard Times, but these are no murder ballads: joy dwells in each one. The joy of overcoming obstacles, the joy of staying positive in the face of bleak hard times, and the joy of enduring love. The joy of remembering the legacy of the dearly departed.

Musically sparse, Owen’s guitar cuts like light through the dark, while Kelly’s voice and the guitarist’s harmonies tell these stories beautifully and simply.

And stories these are – wrapped up in gorgeous melodies perhaps, but these tales quickly enrapture and enthral us, leaving no doubt that hearing these songs ringing out in a church would be an emotionally moving experience.

The trad blues of Pallet On Your Floor is about as close to old Delta blues as two Aussies can get, complete with a subtly brilliant country slide solo. A plaintiff take on the Lennon/McCartney classic Let It Be is nice, without being essential (but next to the original, what would be?) Leonard Cohen’s Bird On The Wire celebrates the song more than the ideal it represents.

Kelly’s original tunes here (Nukkanya and Meet Me In The Middle Of The Air) seem to revel in the sparse arrangements more than the more famous covers and traditional folkies – perhaps Kelly and Owen should bunker down and write a sequel of their own accord to follow this one up?

Shane

Category: CD Reviews

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