simon kelly
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simon kelly

Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, Australia | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, Australia | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Alternative Reggae

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A few years ago i was lucky enough to see Simon Kelly play by himself at a WAMI gig. It was a rainy old afternoon with just a few people around, but Kelly defied this as he totally captivated the crowd with his serious guitar chops on a tiny little stage with a tiny little amp. It was one of the more memorable gigs i've seen, which was why his latest release, New Horizons, is a trifle dissappointing, as i dont think it completely captures his live energy. That being said, its only a trifle dissappointing as, when everything clicks for Kelly, he delivers some of the best tracks we've heard from any Aussie artist this year.
A case in point is the billiant combo of Another Disaster and Eye of the Storm. Coming after a somewhat quiet opener in the albums title track, these two songs deliver big time. Using his guitar as a percussive weapon, Kelly mixes roots, ska and rock into a nice little combination thats especially tasty when he unleashed a superb solo in the latter song. Kellys cover of Damien Rice's Cannonball is also absolutley brilliant, but comes at an odd mid-point of the album, where it somewhat jars with the other material. It also leads into the psycedelic reggae of Rasta Pussycat as the album slows during its middle stages. But the energy returns in the second half with the more up-tempo Uncle Al and Kellys blistering guitar work on Gondwana Lady.
Kelly is one of Perths Mr. Nice Guys and, although there's a few sequencing issues here, this album shows he's also one the city's brightest talents. - Drum Media


'Overall Simon has produced a oringinal and relaxing mini-album complete with good songs, some that i would prefer to hear over some of today's more commercial acoustic artists. Good musicianship and a good recording. I would probably listen to this on the road, not lying down. It's a good one for your collection if you're into mellowish acoustic rootsy stuff with a slight edge. I liked the the cardboard cover and artwork too. Simple, effective and enviro-friendly.' - Rip-In Magazine


When Fremantle singer-songwriter Simon Kelly left the city for the country some years ago, he not only closed down his band Wasted Youth, he moved away from away from straight-ahead rock. As his two earlier releases reveal, Kelly found his niche in the roots-rock world with a more acoustic feel that drew on laidback feels like reggae. At first, this third release with Canadian producer Alan Brey at the helm seems a continuation of that, marked by the Jack Johnson-like ruminations of opener Darkness, and followed by a warmed up, reggae-ish lope in Roots Girl. But there’s change here too, mostly in the solid guitar interplay of Roots Girl leading into the more rock-oriented and moodier tone of Millionaire. Next comes the grittier, harder-edged rock drive of Hey Man, positively surly in its social commentary about selfishness and blinkered vision. Sure, Kelly soon gets back into a languid roots-rock mode with The Truth (but there’s some angular guitar inserted here too) and makes room for the acoustic mood of All Life Inspired. But the new edginess displayed on this set shows that Kelly is now finding a more dynamic way to get his positive messages across.
- Bill Holdsworth


I’m the only full time journalist in the Gascoyne Region. I’ve had a pretty stressful week as far as stressful weeks go; my work email was down for two days, my car got bogged causing me to miss an interview and I had to work Saturday.

Then something happened, I got home and Darkness, the first song on Simon Kelly’s new album Gathering Tribes, came on. The stress stopped then and there. I don’t know if it is just a fluke or whether Simon Kelly is an intellectual genius, but having Darkness is the first song on Gathering Tribes is the best decision he could have made.

The upbeat, positive vibes that ooze out of the sound waves quickly captivates you into paying your full utmost attention to him and his album. It is nearly hypnotic in nature.

Don’t get me wrong, the album is definitely not perfect; no songs on the album scream ‘epic’ or ‘anthem’, but that does not really matter. All in all, Gathering Tribes is a superb WA example of a positive, rational chill out album.

As the album progresses, the songs become more about sitting back and thinking rather than nodding your head and putting a smile on your dial, but this is not a bad thing.

Take the laid back melodic ballad The Truth. Here Simon Kelly mixes a fantastic reggae rhythm with some food for thought in a harmonious equilibrium, as can be seen with the opening lines; ‘It’s ok if you don’t get caught, but something tells you that’s not right, the truth will hang you out to dry.’

That is what epitomizes Gathering Tribes, it is pure and it is real. It is not intended to live in the higher reaches of the top 100 nor on board the CD tower of someone who is not going to touch it ever again after owning it for two weeks.

This is an album that screams to be appreciated; one for someone to pull out and listen to when they want inspiration, when they want to create some top vibes or just whenthey want to listen to something genuine.

The question I’m asking now is whether or not Simon Kelly is Australia’s best kept secret in music.

The secret’s out now. - Bruno de Paiva


'I really like Simon's voice' - Richard Kingsmill


For singer songwriter Simon Kelly, the time is definitely now. His rootsy grooves fit in perfectly with the current crop of acoustic storytellers, drifting effortlessly from mellow pop to melodic blues and onto reggae-like dirges.

It’s a change of pace for the Sydney-sider, who was once a member of hard hitting Wasted Youth and toured nationally with Suicidal Tendencies. Anyone who is a fan of either of those band is unlikely to find what they’re looking for here, but those with a penchant for Damien Rice, Bob Evans or even The The should have a sniff.

For this album, Kelly has adopted a husky whisper as his vocal trademark, similar to that of the Beta Band or Syd Barrett during his ‘Madcap Laughs’ phase. His playing is positively psychedelic in places, but always with a folky feel and an almost ethereal after taste.

It’s a solid performance from Kelly and is sure to be his springboard to bigger and better things. -


“Kelly is a man defying convention, setting his beat driven acoustic balladry to the hypnotic sway of the Caribbean, but coating it with lush, whisper like vocals. Kelly is unlike any other singer songwriter Australia (at least) has seen". - Xpress Magazine


Whatever is in the water in Fremantle, it has spawned another Australian roots guru in Simon Kelly. Kelly's third album, the aptly titled Gathering Tribes, gathers sounds from a variety of musical tribes with Caribbean reggae, rock riffs, accoustic fingerpicking and pop appeal just some of the most defining.

Produced by Alan Brey, who has also worked with Dakota Star, Lumiis and The Dirty Secrets, Gathering Tribes opens with the lead single and surefire festival favourite Darkness, easily the albums best example of Kelly's abillity to strum out feel-good summer tunes that warrant the frequent Jack Johnson comparisons. With underpinning Caribbean rhythms and Kelly's smooth, mellow voice easing listeners into the chorus, Darkness, like the song's implicit metaphor, is as refreshing as the sun emerging on an overcast day.

On the second half of the album, Kelly waxes experimental taking a risk on The Truth, where heavy rock guitar alternates with Caribbean sway, and on Three Days, whose interlude is on the darker and more surreal moments in Kellys work and a highlight of the album. While neither of these tracks are Kelly's trademark sound, the change-up goes down a treat and prevents the album from being just background beach vibes.

Like any good Freo boy though, Kelly always returns from his experimentation to what he most has a knack for - tunes that get anyone listening on their feet and doing the hippy sway. So, pop this collection on as a musical offering to the Perth festival gods for weather worth its weight in summer ditties.

By Megan Smith, Drum Media sept 24 - Megan Smith


With his acoustic guitar-driven brand of mellow pop, Simon Kelly could be Australia’s answer to Jack Johnson. His solo debut mini-album, has some real gems, including Train, a catchy, almost onomatopoeic ode to love lost via distance. Other standouts are Cloud on the Corner, a nicely-paced musing on time and change, and Rainbow of Humans, which layers guitar, didgeridoo, slide guitar and strings to create an atmospheric soundscape - Rip It Up Magazine


Discography

Simon Kelly (2006)
Tribal Astronaut (2007)
Gathering Tribes (2009)
New Horizons (2011)
Ride On (2013)

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Bio


Simon is a veteran of the Perth music scene, his first band Wasted Youth toured the country with Suicidal Tendencies, played the Big Day Out and released an album before even graduating high school.

When Wasted Youth disbanded Simon toured Australia and The Torres Straight Islands in a circus, completed an Arts degree and moved to his family's farm in the South West where he recorded his first solo album in his home studio.
The album received enough positive attention to convince Simon to move back to Perth where he has since recorded another 4 albums and taken his music to some of the biggest festivals in Australia such as Peats Ridge, The Big Day Out and Southbound. In 2010 Simon was a stand out performer at the Japan Music Week festival and was invited by the promoters to return in 2011.

2011 also saw the release of Simon Kelly's latest album 'New Horizons'. The album was praised by critics accross Australia, with Drum Media stating the album contains some of the best tracks we have heard from any Aussie artist this year.

Simon's music has also been recognised in United States with 9 songs licenced to US prime time tv shows, including The Ghost Whisperer, 90210, Happy Endings and One Tree Hill.

Band Members