Review: 'Welcome Home' by Joel McKerrow & The Mysterious Few

Review by Alia Gabres

Joel McKerrow and the Mysterious Few’s latest album Welcome Home is a warm fire on a cold winter’s night. The album masterfully balances harmonies and oral traditions while posing questions about life and the bitter sweet art of living. It would be remise to attempt to describe it as a spoken word album as this genre defying piece of art is unassuming in its casual defiance of genre specific norms.

As a leading member of the Melbourne spoken word community, Joel has been on a journey of creative discovery for many years. From traditional spoken word, to page poetry, to collaborative art making Joel continues to evolve his storytelling techniques to paint vivid illustrations that challenge and grow the artform.

Joel’s current collaboration with his band members the Mysterious Few is a testament of what is possible when local musicians such as Josh Fuhrmeister (production, guitars, keys), Richelle Boer (vocals and guitars), Jhana Allan (Violin) and Leah Scholes (Percussion) join forces. This collaboration is a timely reminder that independent art making is still a viable and important creative platform.

Joel’s opening title track ‘Welcome Home’ attempts to unpack the intimate relationship between creativity and the trials that come with it. Joel’s gentle invitation to ‘just create’ alludes to all things that get lost along the path of art making when insecurities, society and politics get in the way.

The second track on the album ‘We Tell Stories’ is a marriage of resilience and hope that conjures up the ability to witness a new day.

My favourite line in the album is on the sixth track ‘Awaken’. Joel opens the track with the line ‘the best way to destroy a people is to take away their stories’ then going on to remind us that ‘our stories have fallen from our bags’. If you were ever in question of the necessity of this art form or wondered about its ability to ‘aw

Making You Sound Delicious

An open letter to those wishing to provide recorded work for Audacious

Dear eager and brave applicants,

My name is Armand (Mandy) and I’ve been doing this stuff for a while now. Both poetry and audio engineering. I haven’t been published as yet, nor have I won any awards for my writing, so I’m not here to tell you how to go about that side of the craft. I do however have a Diploma in Sound Production and have recorded, mixed and mastered a variety of audio work that encompasses podcasts, music, film & TV, and of course spoken word.

Some of you may have noticed that one of the most recent projects I was involved with happened to be the Melbourne Spoken Word audio compilation ‘Audacious – Issue 1’.

When it comes to us audio engineers, there is a common myth that we are magicians of sound and can make any piece sparkle. I wish I could say this was true, but even we and our (usually) trusty technology have our limitations. A number of you wishing to provide your work to MSW may be a little fresh to the process of recording. Firstly, it’s wonderful and exciting to see how many people out there want to give it a go. I say go for it, learn, embrace, conquer! However, do bear in mind, with the ease of access to in-built microphones on computers and devices, bargain bin recording home studios and free downloadable studio software – there comes the trade off of poor sound quality. Don’t let that turn you off, if you are on a stringent budget. There are a few diamonds in the rough to be found. I’ll get on to where to find them later.

Over the near 8 years that I’ve been involved in this, I have been provided a wealth of material. Some glorious snippets, some bat shit crazy stuff with talking dolls, deep creepy breathing and distorted glockenspiels played with drum sticks wrapped in condoms. And then there are those really taxing tracks containing all manner of: squelch, hiss, microphone feedback, jarring r

Submit to Audacious Issue Two

Following the successful release of our first issue of our ‘audio-journal’ spoken word album, Audacious, we have now opened submissions for the second issue of Audacious until midnight Monday, June 30. We are seeking submissions of audio recorded spoken word (in a .wav file) as well as submissions for photography or artwork for the front cover.

It is important to abide by the following guidelines when submitting and failure to do so, may result in us not considering your piece at all. It is also advised that you listen to the previous issue of Audacious and read two articles, one by myself, and one by Audacious’ sound engineer, Armand Petit on tips for good quality recording.

Submissions are made by the Submittable platform here. Artwork is submitted via a separate Submittable Page here. We do not accept submissions via email or other means.

Pieces for Audacious are selected from both commissioned artists or poets asked by the editor to record work as well as submissions for the open submission process. There is no guarantee on the amount of pieces selected from the open submission process. Audio recordings must be submitted in .wav or wave format. We do not accept .mp3 files. This is to maintain the quality of the audio for editing and publishing purposes. We accept work from not just Melbourne or Australia. Everyone is eligible to submit but we do have a bias toward work from inside of Melbourne or those who perform in the live poetry scene in Melbourne, both from open mic and feature poets. Only one submission per artist or poet. We are a group of volunteers and do not have time to listen to four or five submissions from one poet. Submit us your best poem. Poems must be no longer than 5 minutes. Artwork and photography submitted must be the sole property of the author submitting. Authors must submit a bio. Please do not use the bio field in the submission form for a cover letter or any other notes. Bio should be short. Arou

In Tribute: Melbourne Poets Lost and Loved - Part 1

Words by Steve Smart

During a performance at Slamalamadingdong in Carlton last year, I performed a piece in tribute to a number of Melbourne poets who have passed away in the last 20 years or so. Afterwards Benjamin Solah suggested I curate a series of articles for MSW based this theme. So this is the beginning salvo in a war against forgetting!

I will say that I’m pretty nervous about this project. I’ve ummed and ahhed and put it off because in comparison I often still feel like a stupid kid. But I’m not a kid anymore, and as I grow older I feel more keenly the responsibility to help keep the words of others alive. This isn’t about me, this is about us

I’m gonna throw a list of names at you and see which ones you recognise. My thanks to Pamela Sidney for publishing the original list, which I’ve added to. The list is in (hopefully) chronological order of passing but isn’t a reflection of the order in which the articles will be written. That one will be a bit more random.

A.P. Johnson * John Anderson * Alan ‘All-Ego/Word-Warrior’ Gregory * John Forbes * Mal Morgan * David Branson * Adrian Rawlins * Glen Tomasetti, Sandon McLeod * Doris Leadbetter * Patrick Alexander * Odin Karlsson * Amanda Wilson * Jenny Boult * Shelton Lea, * Michael Duggan * Lisa Bellear * Ted Lord * Joyce Lee * Geoffrey Eggleston * Jonathan Dark * Dorothy Porter * Martin Downey * John West * Aileen Kelly * Cornelis Vleeskins * Leon Shann * Ken Taylor

This is not an exhaustive list by any means. I’m sure there are names missing. Nor is it an Australian dead poets list. In order to maintain focus and not spend the next 30 years of my life doing this (though I will anyway), I’ve kept it to Melbourne poets or poets who had a particularly strong connection to Melbourne.

Several of the poets on the list are my friends and mentors, and I don’t feel I should discount them on that basis. I am in no way objective. This m