The cover image from Cordite Poetry Review 37.1: Nebraska (2012), a detail from Bruce Springsteen's 1982 album, Nebraska.

Cordite 37.1: Nebraska

Released in conjunction with the Cordite-Prairie Schooner co-feature, Cordite 37.1: Nebraska is a tribute to Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska album, presented by Sean M. Whelan and Liner Notes.

Cordite 37.1: Nebraska features original audio and text works by 11 of Australia’s finest writers and spoken word performers, all responding to Nebraska, track by track (plus a special bonus track).


Neil Boyack, Josephine Rowe, Omar Musa, Gabriel Piras, Samuel Wagan Watson, Eric Dando, Jessica Alice, Josh Earl, Alicia Sometimes, Emilie Zoey Baker and Ben Pobjie.

Sean M. Whelan’s editorial outlines the genesis of the Liner Notes project and also discusses the significance of the Nebraska album:

Nebraska in the form we know and love today was never meant to be released. Recorded originally as a demo in Springsteen’s home on a four-track cassette recorder it was later given the full E-Street band treatment in the studio, ready to be unleashed on the world. But after comparing the two, Springsteen and his manager and close friend Jon Landau decided that something got lost in the transition. Something gritty, raw and real. So the demo, recorded on a $5 cassette was handed in as the end product, a remarkable act for a major label to concede.

Nebraska (2012)

Side A.
1. A Record of Our Trip (Nebraska) – Neil Boyack*
2. Atlantic City – Josephine Rowe
3. Mansion On The Hill – Omar Musa
4. Johnny 99 – Gabriel Piras
5. Fade away … (Highway Patrolman) – Samuel Wagan Watson*
6. Batter (State Trooper) – Eric Dando*

Side B.
7. Used Cars – Jessica Alice
8. Open All Night – Josh Earl
9. My Father’s House – Alicia Sometimes
10. Reason To Believe – Emilie Zoey Baker
11. Born in the USA – Ben Pobjie**

*Text only, links to Cordite site. **Bonus track.

As the Cordite site doesn’t currently display or load the 8 audio tracks in the issue, I’m attaching them here for posterity.

Sean M. Whelan: Catholic, Autistic and Terrific

A picture of teenage heart-throb Sean M. WhelanLock up your bandannas, plectrums and notebooks, people – there’s a man on the streets who’s aiming to break your heart, like the way Wilco said they were trying, only this time succeeding.

The man who introduced the world to Catholic Autistic Terrific, who is now in the middle of a post-Balderdash hangover to rival anything tied on by the Rat Pack, stirred the hearts, minds and various extremities of the Melbourne spoken word scene two weeks ago with his show Death To Your Dreams, featuring Sean on vocals and cool hat, and ace band the Mime Set on everything else.

The performance, as part of the Emerging Writers’ Festival, was actually the second one put on by Sean and the band, after their apparently barnestorming show as part of last year’s Australian Idol competition. Think fab projections accentuated by moody shadow work from the Mime Set’s guitarists – okay, think Rattle and Hum.

Think big sound!

My God, the Spanish Club PA made the band sound like a cathedral. Think heart-breaking lyrics and songs. Think about how much Sean’s gigs will cost to get into in the future. Think eye-patches. Think think. Think ‘four letter word starting with s, containing one e and ending with an an’.

PS: rhymes with ‘lorn’.

Justin Heazlewood at Babble!

justin heazlewoodAfter the non-appearance of rumoured Irish headline act Neil, Babble punters could be forgiven for suspecting that uber-host Sean M. Whelan’s response might be to rope in some amateur or half-baked talent to act as the feature performer at last night’s event.

Those of little faith might consider working on that aspect of their personality however as no less a performer than Justin Heazlewood aka The Bedroom Philosopher aka one half of devastating duo The Renegades of Folk provided more than half a dozen answers to the question: what on earth goes through the mind of a twenty-something performer aka poet aka comedian aka spokesperson for his/her generation?

Because the fact is that if anyone speaks for signature drawstring jarmies, toast, songs about mum and postmodernism, then Justin Heazlewood’s the man. He could just as easily be the woman, as evidenced by his appearance on stage to the accompaniment of DJ Sassy Pants’ strident and eclectic selection, Donovan’s ‘Hurdy Gurdy Man’.

He’s funny, witty and he can play a guitar. I personally haven’t laughed so much in a while. I even forked out $20 for a copy of his debut album In Bed With My Doona, and can I just say that the price tag is worth it for the sensational Aussie folk-hop pastiche that is ‘Folkstar’, one of the best songs I’ve heard in ages.

Read an interview with Justin Heazlewood in Cordite. Better still, get on to the official Bedroom Philosopher website.