PAUL KELLY Ways & Means (Cooking Vinyl/True North) Rating: NNNN
This is a sprawling double album that takes you on a journey into the depths of your soul to reveal secrets of love you thought not possible and reaffirm your faith in humanity. Bigwig producer Tchad Blake adds a dense atmospheric sound to many of the songs, but seeing as how Kelly is the best storyteller this side of Dylan, it's no surprise that the straight-ahead acoustic numbers have the most impact. His ability to blend memorable melodies with exquisite lyrics works wonders on Ways & Means. Kelly is still miles ahead of his competition. Kelly gives an awesome show, too. He plays Lee's tonight (Thursday, March 11).