That is in no way implying that Thirteen Ways to Look at Birds is no good, simply that Kelly’s latest musical collaboration is about and dedicated to our flying friends.

Thirteen Ways to Look at Birds brings six musicians together in order to interpret poems that were inspired by birds. John Keats, Thomas Hardy, Emily Dickinson, Judith Wright, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Gwen Harwood, A D Hope and others all get the treatment.

Musically speaking, the album features the Seraphim Trio with Anna Goldsworthy on piano, Helen Ayres on violin and Tim Nankervis on cello, along with composer James Ledger and singer-songwriters Paul Kelly and Alice Keath.

“This is the second time I’ve worked with James setting a group of poems to music,” says Kelly. “Writing with him, I’ve learned to expect the unexpected. He surprises and challenges me in the best possible way. And it’s been an honour working with such a talented gang on stage and in the studio. I’m excited to be sending our fledglings out into the air!”

Thirteen Ways to Look at Birds is set for release on August 30. Here’s the track listing:

1. Black Cockatoos (Judith Wright)
2. The Darkling Thrush (Thomas Hardy)
3. Leda and the Swan (WB Yeats)
4. Barn Owl (Gwen Harwood)
5. Mudlarking
6. A Barred Owl (Richard Wilbur)
7. “Hope” is the thing with feathers (Emily Dickinson)
8. Ode to a Nightingale (John Keats)
9. Proud Songsters (Thomas Hardy)
10. Murmuration
11. Thornbills (Judith Wright)
12. The fly (Miroslav Holub)
13. Black Swan
14. The Death of the Bird (AD Hope)
15. The Windhover (Gerard Manley Hopkins)
16. The Magpies (Denis Glover)

This attention from Kelly to feathered types ties in with something that he told STACK a while back.

“I’m probably becoming more attuned and curious about nature as I’ve got older, I notice. I never used to notice birds, until the last few years, and now I find I’m looking at them more and more.”

Check out the complete interview here.