Twelve months after releasing his chart-topping and ARIA award-winning album Life is Fine, Paul Kelly has unveiled a new single and details of his follow-up studio album.

Due for release in October, Nature sees the iconic Australian singer-songwriter set poems from literary greats such as Dylan Thomas, Walt Whitman, Sylvia Plath and Philip Larkin to spirited rock’n’roll.

On August 9, Kelly launched first single With the One I Love and a video shot in Melbourne’s Old Magistrate’s Court where Ned Kelly was sentenced to death in 1880.

Directed by Sian Darling, the clip puts the 63-year-old Adelaide-born musician in the dock and co-stars Melbourne rising star Mojo Juju as the judge and singers Vika and Linda Bull as defence lawyers.

“I’ve been playing around with poems since 2012 and it’s now become another way for me to write songs,” Kelly said.

“I think most writers get sick of themselves and their own habits, so it’s a happy surprise, after 40 years of writing songs, to find a new way.”

Nature also features four songs based on Kelly’s own poems, including one called A Bastard Like Me.

“Most writers get sick of themselves and their own habits, so it’s a happy surprise ... to find a new way”
- Paul Kelly

The album was recorded in Melbourne earlier this year with the Before Too Long singer’s long-serving touring band — Peter Luscombe on drums, Bill McDonald on bass, Ash Naylor and Dan Kelly on guitars and Cameron Bruce on keyboards — plus vocals from the Bull sisters, Kate Miller-Heidke and Kelly’s daughters Madeleine and Memphis.

Nature continues the ARIA Hall of Famer’s return to the melodic guitar rock of his 80s work with the Messengers following Life is Fine, which gave Kelly his first Aussie No. 1 album in a career spanning more than 40 years.

“I think of Nature as a companion piece to Life is Fine,” he said, “itself full of moons, rain, rocks, rivers, seas, smells and lovers.”

The album will be released as a 12-track CD and vinyl, plus a deluxe edition featuring a 27-song DVD from last year’s performance from the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House.

Nature will be released on October 12.