Australian artist Paul Kelly has put together his first Christmas album, focusing on the “emotions and layers of the Christmas story”, and in a way that reflected his holiday experience in the southern hemisphere, far removed from the snowy imagery of so many Christmas songs.
Consequently, he put together a 22-song double album titled Christmas Train that “travels across the centuries”, ranging from a Latin hymn to well-known carols, from a traditional Irish folk ballad to songs with local flavor, as well as a new version of one of the most popular Australian Christmas songs, “How to Make Gravy”. The album is scheduled for release on November 19, 2021 from Gawd Aggie / Cooking Vinyl.
“I’ve always been interested in Christmas songs and the variety of them. There is a double-edged sword to Christmas music because every year it is everywhere, pumped to you in supermarkets and malls. There is a lot of schlock attached but on the other hand there are so many great Christmas songs and so much to explore. I’ve chosen songs I love, which led me often to wander off the well-worn path, then chosen singers I thought best suited to them.”
Kelly’s “Christmas helpers” on the album include vocalists Vika and Linda Bull, Marlon Williams, Kasey Chambers and Emma Donovan, along with contributions from the Kelly clan: nephew and bandmate Dan, siblings Mary-Jo and Tony, and Paul’s daughters Maddy and Memphis.
Here’s our track listing for ‘Christmas Train’:
2. Silent Night
3. Swing Around the Sun
5. Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)
6. Little Drummer Boy
7. Arthur McBride
8. The Virgin Mary Had One Son
9. Tapu Te P? (O Holy Night)
10. Shalom Aleichem
11. The Oxen
12. The Friendly Beasts
13. Three Drovers
14. Christmas Must Be Tonight
15. Surah Maryam
16. Coventry Carol
17. In the Hot Sun of a Christmas Day
18. How to Make Gravy
19. Christmas Train
20. Come Thou Font of Every Blessing
21. Intonent Hodie
22. What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?