About ten years ago, I received a copy of a CD to review for Blues Bytes from an artist named Eddie Turner. I didn't know very much about him.....okay, I didn't know anything about him at the time, but when I plugged in that CD, called The Turner Diaries, I had the urge to find out more. Turner played the blues sure enough, but he mixed in healthy dose of funk, rock, world, and jazz. He owed more than a nod to Hendrix in his guitar playing, but you could hear other influences as well, like Carlos Santana, Jeff Beck, Tommy Bolin, and even Ry Cooder. It was an incredibly original and intense set that just stayed with me for a while.
I soon received a copy of his debut from 2005, Rise, which helped Turner earned a 2006 BMA nomination for Best New Artist, and it was equally potent, with Turner working through some dazzling original tunes and putting his own unique spin on some familiar favorites from Hendrix, Freddy King, and Johnny "Guitar" Watson. By now, I had learned more about Turner and was astonished when I found out that he had never recorded as a frontman prior to Rise, which was such an accomplished and confident release.
In 2010, Turner released Miracles & Demons, another stellar set which consisted of all original material, and I do mean "original." It was a great mix of blues, rock, and funk, with a bit of psychedelia thrown in for good measure. Simply put, there's not anybody out there who plays the blues like Eddie Turner.
Turner was born in Cuba and raised in Chicago, where he picked up the guitar at the age of 12. By the mid 70's, he in Colorado, where he attended the University of Colorado and was playing with Tracy Nelson and Mother Earth. Later, he played with the blues-rock band Zephyr and the Legendary 4-nikators. He also took a sabbatical to sell real estate in Denver, before returning in the mid 90's to help for the Otis Taylor Band, serving as lead guitarist on five of Taylor's albums, including White African and Respect the Dead.
Turner's latest album is Naked...In Your Face, a live effort with the Trouble Twins.....fellow Denver resident Anna Lisa Hughes, who plays bass and sings on several cuts, and Canadian drummer Kelly Kruse. Turner does six songs from his previous releases, and Hughes takes the mic for three songs. All of the songs are fleshed out to six minutes or more and that really allows the Trouble Twins to give up the funk and Turner to put his incredible guitar skills on full display. I promise this is one that you wish you had seen in person when you listen to it.
Turner also has a new studio album, yet to be titled, in the can and hopes to release it later this year. He graciously agreed to sit down for Ten Questions with FBF and we are grateful that he took time out from his busy schedule to do so, so without further ado.......
Ten Questions With......Eddie Turner
Friday Blues Fix: How would you describe your music?
Eddie Turner: A strange form of vintage bluesy mid 70’s jazz indie rock
FBF: As you grew up and developed into a musician, what artists influenced you as a singer, guitarist, and songwriter?
ET: Well , to begin with, I never wanted to be a singer……I think i sound like a pampered frog ….but I was a fan of all singers from Johnny Mathis to Hendrix…of course Junior Wells, Magic Sam…..the list goes on….
Guitarist…anyone that played an electric guitar solo through a Marshall on 11…..along with George Benson, Wes, Grant Green….etc...
FBF: Did you know from the beginning that you wanted to play the blues, or did you try to focus on another genre?
ET: I knew from the beginning that I wanted to be a guitarist...
ET: A long strange trip that has been …. Learn. … nothing …. The question is …. What did Otis and I learn from David and Candy Givins . the founders of Zephyr …. Their concepts are still seen in many strange ways in both Otis’s and my music and of course one must not forget all that Kenny Passarelli brought to the table.
|Turner with the Trouble Twins|
FBF: Your latest CD, Naked….In Your Face, is a live date, recorded with the Trouble Twins (Anna Lisa Hughes – bass/vocals, Kelly Kruse – drums/vocals), and it really pushes boundaries, capturing you and your sound at your peak. You guys make a pretty formidable team. How long have you been performing together?
ET: That particular band was together for two weeks ….. yep, just two weeks …. Anna and I, off and on for three years.....
FBF: I was excited to hear that you have a new album that will be coming out soon. Can you tell us a little about what to expect?
ET: New York , New York…… Yea , it’s going to be typical Eddie fringe material … recorded , engineered, etc……in …. can I say it? Brooklyn …..with a few heavy players that I was lucky enuff to have the opportunity to work with.…. A big shout out to Arnie Goodman who got the ball rolling!
FBF: You’ve been asked to compile an Essential Eddie Turner CD……..what songs would you have to put on that collection?
ET: “Dangerous ,” “Ask Myself Why,” “The Turner Diaries,” “SaveMy Life,” “Say,” “Sin I’m In,” “Me and Mrs. Jones,” “Blues Fall Down Like Rain,” “Miss Carrie,” “Miracles & Demons, Part 1 & 2,” “Shake 4 Me,” “Rise,” “Cost of Freedom,” “I’m a Good Man.”
FBF: Is there anything musically that you haven’t done yet that you would like to do……or someone that you would like to work with?
ET: Every day holds a new opportunity. “There is always someone I would like to perform with…..a new sound that I would like to explore.
FBF: What are some of your favorite albums or songs……from the blues or any other genre?
ET: Electric Ladyland, Chicago/The Blues/Today!, MotivationalSpeaker, Led Zep I, Chills and Thrills, Expressway To Your Skull, SuperSession, Dusty in Memphis, A Long Time Comin', On The Corner, The Real Folk Blues….and the list goes and on and on.
FBF: If you weren’t a musician, what do you think you would be doing?
ET: A realtor