To understand why Paul Kelly would make a Christmas album nearly 30 records deep into his career, it helps to know how he spends his own festive season. Kelly is one of eight siblings and, traditionally, the gatherings feature a large and diverse cast; “the odd stray, new and old flames, gossip, singing”, as he wrote in his memoir, How To Make Gravy, “and much discussion and planning of food”.
Branches of Kelly’s family extend through Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. “We’ve all got our children and our children’s children, so if we all got together now it might be too big,” he says. Usually, there’s a get-together on Christmas Eve, where carols will be sung, before people drift back to their own camps and to in-laws for the day itself.
But this year Kelly’s eldest brother, Martin – father of nephew and bandmate Dan – won’t be there. He died on 4 December last year, aged 69, after a short illness. “We were fortunate to get up to Queensland last year just before the borders closed,” Kelly says. “It was a really close call, but we saw him two days before he died, and stayed on for the funeral, so we were very fortunate to be able to do that.”… Read more..