In 2013 I had an idea for a concert.
Story and song. Together. Twining like rope. Sort of. Spoken-word. Music. Memoir. Together. Sort of. But I’m not a musician. I’ve hardly ever been on a stage.
So I went to an open mic session at the Newport Fiddle & Folk Club. Not that fiddle and folk music is quite my cup of tea. But I went along to the scout hall –- and said, “I’ve got this idea for a show. Story and song together, but I don’t know a key change from a chord change…”
In my back pocket I had a story from the website about a father, and the Hank Williams song Move It On Over.
Michael Stewart and Steph Payne pulled out their phones, found the song, pulled out their instruments. Figured out the keys and the chords. Just like that. I pulled out the story and said, “I’ll start reading but don’t start playing and singing until I give you a nod. And then stop when I give you another nod, so I can resume the story. And then come back at the end. When I step away from the microphone.”
And away we went. Rough. But something to work on, to build on, to develop. To fine-tune.
Twelve months later The Stereo Stories Band performed at the 2014 Newport Folk Festival, just weeks after our very first show down the road at the Williamstown Literary Festival.
From tips on microphone technique to recommendations about public liability, the NFFC has been a great supporter. A venue for a non-festival gig. A sound engineer. A stage manager for a big show in Williamstown. A testimonial for the website. A support letter for a grant application. A bass player for a house concert. A sounding board for this, that and the other.
Well before all of that was one of the catalysts for starting the website: hearing an alt-folkie busking at the 2012 Newport Folk Festival. I wrote a story about the busker and when I wanted to find the busker and ask him to be part of the Stereo Stories band, I contacted the NFFC.
Then in 2015, NFFC singer Chris Phillips saw our show at that year’s Newport Folk Festival. She wrote a story for the website, about singing Into The