Please Leave Your Light On came about after Paul Grabowsky was asked to curate a series of concerts, in which he worked in duo settings with various singers. Having known Paul Kelly since 1995, Grabowsky asked Kelly to collaborate and from the outset the music clicked. Deciding to record what they performed at their concert, they spent three days in late 2019, at the Monash Uni Clayton Campus in The David Li Sound Gallery.
The 12 songs they recorded were already part of Kelly’s extensive catalogue. Transcribed and adapted by Grabowsky for the piano/voice combination, the album has a classic ‘fireside’ feel, influenced by the Frank Sinatra/Nelson Riddle collaborations (particularly ‘In the Wee Small Hours’) and the Tony Bennett/ Bill Evans recordings (particular favourites of Grabowsky). The performances are intimate, and shine a light on lyrical moments from the Kelly oeuvre.
The most recent Kelly composition, True To You, opens the album with a little nod to the Gershwin Brothers and it’s the only song that hasn’t appeared in another form on a previous record. They chose the other songs with a mind to their suitability for direct address, close, concentrated performance and room for silence to draw the listener in.
In addition, they also performed Cole Porter’s ‘Every Time We Say Goodbye’, which Kelly delivers in an understated, sensitive way.
“So, light the fire, make a hearty one-pot meal for the one you love, open a bottle of wine and get comfortable. Now drop the needle and turn up the stereo. There’s plenty of space here for all,”
– Paul Kelly