Album cover artwork for Paul Kelly with black vinyl record popping outUsually, at around this time of the calendar, our sonic poet laureate Paul Kelly would be gearing up for his annual festive Making Gravy tour. But he refuses to let us miss out on the Christmas cheer, announcing a brand new Christmas album featuring an absolute sackful of esteemed and beloved guests.

To be fair, the Making Gravy shows were stymied by COVID last year as well. In their place, Kelly teamed with ABC’s The Sound; the show concluded its second season on December 20 with the Paul Kelly Christmas Special. It comprised previously unseen live footage from Kelly’s 2019 show at Sydney’s The Domain, along with performances from Vika & Linda, The Teskey Brothers, Sampa The Great, Baker Boy, Dallas Woods, Alex The Astronaut, Ball Park Music and Alex Lahey.

The new Christmas album has a similarly jaw-dropping guestlist; we’re talking Marlon Williams, Emma Donovan, Kasey Chambers, Vika & Linda, Sime Nugent, Waleed Aly, Alma Zygier, Emily Lubitz, Jess Hitchcock, Kate Miller-Heidke, and the Dhungala Chilren’s Choir. Plus, The Kelly Family makes an appearance – that is, Paul’s nephew and band-mate Dan Kelly, siblings Mary-Jo and Tony, and Paul’s daughters Maddy and Memphis Kelly.

Says Kelly: “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 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 also put together a frankly awesome little film showcasing behind-the-scenes recording footage, with a few little to-camera talking heads bits too. Watch below!

Read our live review of Paul Kelly’s show at the Ipswich Civic Centre in July this year!