New Package Traces Paul Kelly’s Path

Unquestionably one of the world’s most gifted songwriters, Paul Kelly is revered in his native Australia. If his North American fanbase is significantly smaller, it remains steadfast. As for the rest of you, it might admittedly seem a bit daunting trying to get a good handle on an unfamiliar guy with over 35 music-making years and 20+ albums to his credit, and counting. If you’ve only heard one or two of his cuts in passing, or none at all, the new two-CD/43-song career-spanning overview, Songs From the South 1985-2019: Paul Kelly’s Greatest Hits (out now on Cooking Vinyl) is an ideal place to dive in.

The tracklisting (especially the first disc) somewhat mirrors the two previous Songs From the South best-of volumes released in 1997 and 2008, but sprinkles in a fair number of gems from the past ten years. The double vinyl version narrows it down to 26 tracks in total. And completists, take note: the CD edition includes the otherwise unreleased “When We’re Both Old & Mad,” featuring Kasey Chambers.