By Vin Maskell
Stereo Stories returns to the Newport Fiddle and Folk Club on Saturday evening 25 November, after sell out shows this year in Williamstown, Wangaratta and Albury.
Guest writers include westside writers Andy Griffiths, Rijn Collins, Darren ‘Smokie’ Dawson and Nick Gadd, all backed by The Stereo Stories Band.
Created by Williamstown writer Vin Maskell, Stereo Stories has proved very popular at writers’ and music festivals since its first show in 2014.
“Stereo Stories is the perfect blend of words, story and music,” said author Andy Griffiths, who will be channelling his inner rockstar for the third time via Stereo Stories. “The writers’ stories are powerfully supported and enhanced by the amazingly versatile and evocative Stereo Stories Band through a whole range of emotions. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and most importantly, you’ll hear each song with fresh ears and new meaning.”
So, how does Stereo Stories In Concert work? A writer narrates a short, scripted memoir, about 600 words, about a favourite song. At various points in the story the band plays part of the song, before finishing the song at the end of the story.
The catch is that the audience does not immediately know what the song is.
The 25 November show, for example, will feature stories inspired by songs Van Morrison, Neil Young, Arcade Fire, Johnny Cash, The Smiths, Nick Cave, The Church, and Stevie Wright.
Stereo Stories has its roots deep within the west. The show’s creator, director and MC, Vin Maskell, wrote his first Stereo Story after hearing Werribee musician Jack Gramski busking at the 2012 Newport Folk Festival.
Gramski is now part of the band, which also includes singer Chris Phillips, of the Newport Fiddle & Folk Club, and westside band The Angelicats.
Stereo Stories’ debut concert was at the Williamstown Literary Festival in 2014, closely followed by shows that year at the Newport Folk Festival and Newport Bowls Club.
Its audience has ranged from 50 people around a bonfire, under a full moon in the country township of Newstead to nearly 200 people at the brand new Geelong Library to 400 people at the Williamstown Town Hall.
There have also been cameo appearances on Radio National and ABC 774 Melbourne.
The Stereo Stories website, while not exactly an internet phenomenon, has close to 300 stories from about 100 writers.
Those writers include Andy Griffiths (of The Treehouse series of novels), Spotswood’s Rijn Collins (winner of the 2016 Sarah Award for Audio Fiction, and a regular narrator on Radio National), and Kingsville’s Nick Gadd (author of the award-winning 2008 novel Ghostlines, and the popular blog about walking our suburban streets, Melbourne Circle).
“Stereo Stories has emerged from a melting pot of writers and musicians to become one of the most interesting ways for people to enjoy, understand, and connect with the live performance of songs that have been pivotal in people’s lives, ” said Michael Stewart, president of the Newport Fiddle & Folk Club. “The writing is as polished as the musicians are professional.”
Saturday 25 November 7.30pm to 10pm, $15, Newport Bowls Club, 4 Market Street Newport.