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Something Magical

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'Something Magical' is Robin Kelly's 4th album, recorded between January and September 2009 at Manuka Studios, Orewa, on the beautiful Hibiscus Coast North of Auckland, NZ. He is joined again by multi-instrumentalist Mike McCarthy, who has also engineered and mastered the album. Rob Galley plays acoustic guitar on 'Bare Eternity/Out There.' As the CD's themes of magic, love and whimsy closely follow Robin's writing, these are songs he will weave into his presentations. 

CD REVIEW: Indie Music Digest January 2010. Album of the week. 8/10 stars.

New Zealand guitarist, singer-songwriter Robin Kelly releases “Something Magical” in 2010. This is his 4th release so far. Logging in at just under 45 minutes the CD starts things off with “We all let go” a gentle intro piece complete with acoustic guitar, piano, and soothing vocals from Kelly. Track 2 “Something Magical” serves up yet another impressive track with flowing melody, some impressive string accents providing rich melodic structure. Track 3 “Keep Her Warm” is a passionate marquee ballad, with impressive harmonica solo, and vocal build reminiscent of John Lennon, or Don McLean. The CD makes a great first impression, its gentle, soothing, and flows extremely well song for song. The music, lyrical content and subject matter is quite uplifting, and is packed full of hope, and deep conventional wisdom. The musical tones and textures remind me a lot of R.E.M. however Kelly’s vocal style is more folk-mainstream to be considered Alternative. This music is pure acoustic folk that is sung from a deeply honest perspective. What’s impressive about this CD is the amount of musical variety displayed on this CD. Some songs will lift your spirits like “The Dusty Road to Eldorado” and “Coming Home Soon”. While other are full of wisdom like “We all let go”. The defining moments for me musically are the sad but true statements - “Heal our Child” and “For Ever Now” this is where we see the true brilliance of Robin Kelly shine through....

For full review click here

Cyrus Rhodes
Indie Music Digest

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Robin writes about the - at times strained - friendship he has with the songs on Something Magical:

The whole process of writing and recording 'Something Magical' has been - dare I say -magical. Some songs are brand new this year - 'Peace and Understanding' manifested itself one balmy summer's afternoon a week after we started recording. Others were old friends waiting patiently to be recognised. 'The Moment' was the third song I ever wrote. I have sung it privately to myself for over 20 years, so it would only allow me to record it with one mike, one track over two takes. Rather graciously I was allowed to add some harmonica over the chorus.

'For Ever Now' was recorded as a demo (again on one track) in 2003, at the old Manuka Sounds studios. Over the past 6 years, it has repeatedly suggested to me that this simple version was enough, and resisted all my urges to redo, remix, add strings, and generally complicate the 'almost lost in the darkness' theme.

'Bare Eternity' came through in 1996, and waited for a friend 'Out There' to be born 5 years later. Since then they have been inseparable.

I sang the lullaby 'The Angel in Your Eye' at the launch of my first book Healing Ways in 2000 - for someone really close to me (no prizes for guessing who!) It was another song/friend that insisted that nothing should intrude on our privacy -so just one mike and ten minutes of my time. Not even a solitary squeak was permitted from my harmonica.

'We All Let Go' came through a year ago, somehow as a guide through these rapidly changing times. I wondered at the time about the meaning of the line  "..lost souls are counting, so don't raise your hand.." This year it really began to make sense - thanks WALGO. This song seems to connect with folk at the start of my presentations.

'Something Magical' emerged out of an orange mist. A vision of a Spanish (or somewhere Latin anyway) street on a warm summer's night. Mary Magdalene is there too, either in essence or in person. Somehow this abyss is very inviting.

'Keep Her Warm' connected me to a white stone cottage in Conamara, in the West of Ireland. There is the smell of a peat fire. It is the Autumn of1846, and the country is struck by famine borne of the terrible Potato Blight. A  young man, newly wed, ventures out in search of work leaving behind his precious but vulnerable bride - wondering if he will ever see her again. I have sung this at a close friend's funeral, and in honour of Maori ancestors as we were welcomed onto a marae beside the Whirinaki State Forest -  in this case changing the words to 'keep them warm'.

'Heal Our Child' is dedicated to the deep and distressing mystery of eating disorders. This suggests to me more profound conflicts surrounding will, survival and perhaps, above all, self love. The song seemed to emerge from that narrow space between hope and despair.

'The Dusty Road to Eldorado' speaks for itself. Alchemy for the middle classed and middle aged male. At the conclusion "a young boy wears a crown of gold, and stares out down the dusty road." We can pass on a legacy, but the yearning remains. Because it must.

And to awaken us 'Coming Home Soon.' A journey into the heart and soul of a man. You might find an old piano, the odd scrap of paper, a touch of self pity, a longing, and a faint promise of better things to come. Don't hold your breath!

But there again, you never know...

I sincerely hope you enjoy my quirky friends on 'Something Magical' -  they tell me, rather pointedly I feel, that it will be good to have people who really listen for a change.

And thanks Mike, what would we all do without you!

Track list:
1. We All Let Go
2. Something Magical
3. Keep Her Warm
4. Heal Our Child
5. The Dusty Road to Eldorado
6. The Moment
7. Peace and Understanding
8. For Ever Now
9. Coming Home Soon
10. Bare Eternity/Out There
11. The Angel in Your Eye