Kelly is returning to the land up-top for a scant 11 shows in August. The mini-tour will have him playing four gigs in Canada, two in California, and the rest split up around the East Coast.

He also has shows in the U.K. and Ireland booked to keep him busy for the rest of the month. Two-night stands are planned for both the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, and Whelan’s in Dublin, as well as one gig in London.

Kelly is often likened to Bruce Springsteen in that he captures his Australian homeland, telling stories about Sydney or Melbourne the way Springsteen lauds New Jersey. Needless to say, he’s got a rabid fan following in Australia, despite limited exposure around the world.

Since starting his first big band, Paul Kelly And The Dots, Kelly has hardly been off the road or out of the studio since recording his debut around 1976.

Some of his more acclaimed discs include Gossip, Post, So Much Water So Close To Home, and Songs From The South. When not operating as a solo artist, Kelly has formed – and disbanded at the first sign of mediocrity – Paul Kelly And The Coloured Girls, Paul Kelly And The Messengers, Professor Ratbaggy, and Paul Kelly with Uncle Bill.

It’s said that for every album or song he records for himself, Kelly lends his skills to another artist. A quick glance at the many artists he’s worked with either as a collaborator or producer finds Kasey Chambers, Christine Anu, and Michelle Shocked on the list. He’s also scored several movies and theatre productions.

Just a few months ago, Kelly went back into the studio to work on an album of his own. The disc, which features producer genius Tchad Blake, is expected to see an early 2004 release.