Reviews of Voyager
5 Stars - Original
strong songs and great musical atmosphere
A singer who can deliver their own songs with conviction and passion is so much more interesting than a schooled trained professional who hits all the notes perfectly but has little in the way of feeling. Simon Kerr is one of the former. His songs are deceptively simple but stay with you after a listen. He is intense, searching and emotive in his singing and writing. His band sound great - no frills but everything just where it should be. This album is very well recorded and produced. Recommended.
(Tim Readman, Musician and Promoter, Vancouver, posted at http://cdbaby.com/cd/simonkerraj)
"As a band they hadn't been going long before recording this, their debut album, so it says a lot for their talent that they seem well bedded in, on a very enjoyable release"
Zeitgeist Review 21 July 2008
4 Stars, Music for the World
Simon Kerr and The Acoustic Junkies' first album, Voyager: Music for the world, is the embodiment of honesty in song. The twelve songs on the album represent essential life experiences, thoughts and beliefs of Kerr, who reveals his nationality in the first line of the first song ?Permanence? (with reference to the Hokonui Hills of New Zealand). The very personal nature of the lyrics, and Kerr as singer/songwriter/guitarist throughout the album, foregrounds him as an individual, all the while being supported by a solid but understated rhythm and bass unit in fellow musicians Samdrub Dawa and Gary Moss, making up The Acoustic Junkies. A number of guest musicians also appear on the album, lending the occasional sounds of cello, accordian, classical guitar and ? on a number of tracks ? female backing vocals. The result is an album of folk music (broadly defined) that incorporates a number of musical styles including elements of jazz, latin and country. There are even brief soundscapes from India and Samoa that add to the worldliness of the album; an album that declares itself to be 'music for the world?.
Honesty is also reflected in Kerr's musicianship and in the mixing of the album. The sound could be described as raw, sounding in a lot of ways like a live album, and this suits the immediate, storytelling nature of the material. Some might find the rawness of Kerr's vocals at times too rough, but these are his songs, his stories, and it would be difficult to imagine another giving voice to them. We know they are his, as he tells us so. The detailed liner notes provide not only the lyrics for each song, but also a paragraph on the compositional circumstances surrounding each one ? heaven for the music researcher.
The spoken word songs of 'Singapore' and 'Heaven and Back' are particularly effective pieces, not least for the narrative detail that they encompass. As Kerr has a background as an academic social scientist, there is a high level of reflexivity and analysis in most of the song lyrics on Voyager, so it is with pleasure and some relief that the light-hearted and humorous 'Heaven and Back' made it onto the album, very well placed in the centre of it.
The relationship between text and tune in vocal music has been debated over centuries of music scholarship and across a range of styles. Kerr works this relationship with elements of word-painting in a number of songs, but the final track, 'You Linger', reaches a perfect match of lyrics, melody and timbre. In many ways the song appears as a postscript, but in its perfection it also serves as a segue into a much-anticipated next album.
It is rare, even in folk music, for a musician to bare this much of their personal experience in their music. Such honesty has to be appreciated in what could be construed as an increasingly impersonal world.
(Dr Kirsty Gillespie, Musicologist, Sydney, posted at http://cdbaby.com/cd/simonkerraj)