There’s something I need to say up front: Steven Posch is a great guy to hang out with. I’ve never done it, but you can just tell by listening to him as he tells his stories on Radio Paganistan. He’s got charisma oozing off of his disc, which is pretty impressive. This all speaks well of him, and as a man I want to speak well of him.
Here’s where he goes wrong: someone (maybe himself, maybe his friends) has told him that he’s a great at what he does, so he doesn’t work at it. There’s a huge difference, however, between telling stories to your friends and being a storyteller. It isn’t just the story, it’s how you tell the story, and Mr. Posch falls down on the craft of storytelling time and again. His pacing is strange and fragmented; he gets charmed by his own story and loses focus. Worse, he forgets that as the instrument is to the musician, the voice is to the storyteller. On his website Mr. Posch quotes Reclaiming Quarterly, describing him as an “Earth-based rival to Garrison Keillor,” but Garrison Keillor has never mumbled or garbled a sentence like some of the worst moments of Radio Paganistan.
Most egregiously for stories of magick and ritual, he gets as bored with the repeated bits as he fears his audience may become. For example, take his first story, “The Three Gifts.” As in many such stories on this album (and many rituals the world over), certain lines are repeated for emphasis and for power. They become more powerful the more they are repeated, but Mr. Posch seems to become bored with lines like “From north to south, from east to west she went, singing songs of power as she went” until he is practically abbreviating it at the end. He ends his stories with a very ritualistic “That’s the end of the story and that’s the beginning of the story, let us all say “So mote it be!””, but he tosses it away more often than not. If he can’t invest himself in his words, how can his audience?
The stories themselves aren’t bad – actually, they range from “enh” to “pretty good.” Assuming they’re his (and I mean no disrespect, I just don’t see any copyright information so they may be “traditional” rather than his own creations) he’s got a knack for coming up with these stories. He just needs liberal doses of polish and practice before putting himself out there as a storyteller; in the meantime, buy him a cuppa joe and let him chat you up. I bet it would be a blast.
~review by John Casker
By Steven Posch