Inspired by Crowded House and Tom Petty, Cahill Kelly’s debut album is dripping with nostalgia

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Inspired by Crowded House and Tom Petty, Cahill Kelly’s debut album is dripping with nostalgia

Image by Gil Gilmour
Words by Talia Rinaldo

‘Classical and Cool Jazz’ is out now on Cheersquad Records & Tapes.

Since arriving with his debut single ‘Wayward Shrine’ back in 2019, and slowly drip-feeding listeners with singles over the last few months, Melbourne-based singer-songwriter Cahill Kelly has unveiled his anticipated debut album, finally offering up something to really sink our teeth into.

The record, titled Classical and Cool Jazz, is no doubt inspired by his teenage adoration for Crowded House and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and a childhood spent living in and out of rural mining communities.

Across ten stunning tracks, Kelly infuses his love of classic melody and songwriting with a sea of ‘70s-inspired influences, spanning Lennon’s renowned Plastic Ono Band through to various Bob Dylan cuts.

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The result is a combination of psychedelia and folk, instilling the album with depth and sonic abundance alongside sentimental musings.

From ‘World Upon a Shelf’ that sees Kelly reflecting on the notion that all our encounters throughout life contain profound meaning beneath the surface; to ‘Beyond the Weathered Pale’, a track dedicated to life’s “what ifs?”, and ‘Milania’ which acts as a tribute to the lollypop lady the artist spoke to every day, Kelly has developed a knack for writing songs about everyday life with sparkling detail and depth.

Recorded in the height of Victoria’s lockdown last year, the album spawned from home studio sessions with his housemate and renowned live sound engineer Stive Collins.

“We used John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band’s stripped-back style of production as a reference for sound, simply because home recordings can often sound a little lo-fi. We figured if we intentionally tried to keep the production sparse it could help the recordings sound convincing, basically trying to work with what we had,” Kelly says.

“In addition to the Plastic Ono Band album, some of the overall main influences for the record were Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky, David Crosby’s If Only I Could Remember My Name, Arctic Monkeys’ Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, and Crowded House’s Woodface.”


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Released through local independent mainstays Cheersquad Records and Tapes, Kelly’s record also comes bolstered with talent, featuring a slew of local performers including Grace Cummings, Harmony Byrne, and long-term collaborator Lain Pocock.

“We recorded everything live as a three-piece band, I did some minimal overdubs and brought in guests to do overdubs as well, mostly old friends I have worked with over the years that I knew would suit the particular style of song.”

Prior to embarking on a solo career, Kelly played in Townsville band The Broken Needles, releasing two studio albums before splitting in 2015, and Melbourne band Willow Darling who dropped an eponymous album in 2016 before Kelly decided to embark on his solo venture.

Classical and Cool Jazz is out now, listen to it below.

Cahill Kelly will launch the new album on Friday August 20 at Brunswick Ballroom. All those who guested on the record will be on stage. Grab tix here.