Paul Kelly Takes On The Sunnyboys Classic, 'Alone With You'

15 April 2023 | 9:55 am | Mary Varvaris

I love the bittersweetness of the song, its minor-major ambiguity, its melancholy wrapped in pure rock ’n’ roll joy..."

(Pic by Michael Hili)

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Paul Kelly has covered an Australian classic, Alone With You by Sunnyboys, as part of the celebrations for Mushroom's 50th anniversary.

Last month, The Temper Trap kicked off the project with their take on the 1988 ARIA Single Of The Year and Top 30 Billboard hit in the US, Under The Milky Way by The Church. Missy Higgins and Bliss N Eso also feature on the tribute album, with fresh spins on Wide Open Road by The Triffids and Hoops by The Rubens, respectively.

Kelly has covered a song of similar resonance to Under The Milky Way, with Alone With You embedded in the soundtrack of Australian music. 

Staying close to the original track, Kelly detailed his creative approach to covering Sunnyboys: "I love the bittersweetness of the song, its minor-major ambiguity, its melancholy wrapped in pure rock ’n’ roll joy. 

"I hear the words ‘alone with you’ two ways: ‘We’re alone together, just us’ or ‘I’m with you but I’m still alone.’ Jeremy carries both those meanings in his singing. That’s the genius of the song. And there’s genius in the guitar break, too. A brilliant, yearning modulation of chords that lifts off to pure transcendence.”

He continued: “We didn’t even consider doing some kind of ‘interpretation’ of the song. It seemed to us to be written in singing stone. We played it like classical musicians tackling a score. Just serve the song. Not our place to fuck with it.”

In a recent The Music interview with Sunnyboys’ Richard Burgman, the guitarist revealed that their final concert was the band going out on their own terms. 

He also commented on Alone With You, "Jeremy [Oxley, vocals] is a very talented songwriter. The songs sound simple, but there's bits in the middle that aren't what you would expect," Burgan added before mentioning the middle chord sequence in Alone With You that comes out of left field, "but it's really good, and nobody else would have thought of it, except Jeremy. It's remarkable." Read the full interview here.

Check out Paul Kelly’s take on Alone With You below and listen to the other recent Mushroom 50 releases here.