Blues Bytes


June/July 2010

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Troy Turner
Whole Lotta Blues
Evidence Records

Troy TurnerTroy Turner first started turning heads in the mid-1980s, when he began impressing Baton Rouge blues audiences with his stunning guitar work at Tabby’s Blues Box, Byron’s and other local clubs. His aggressive style won him many fans and much adulation. He quickly moved to New Orleans in the late 80’s and continued to amaze audiences in the Crescent City. He recorded three albums, two for Kingsnake in 1990 and 1992, plus one for Telarc in 1999.

Though he went over ten years without a release, Turner has not stopped performing during that span. His latest release, Whole Lotta Blues (Evidence Records), shows that he’s improved on what was already a formidable talent. His guitar work is still incredible, mixing the blues with modern elements of rock, soul, and funk, but his vocals have matured nicely over the years as well. On previous releases, he often sounded even younger than he was, but that’s not the case here.

Whole Lotta Blues features 14 tracks, most of them written or co-written by producer Jon Tiven (who also plays guitar, keyboards, saxes, percussion, and harmonica on selected tracks). Tiven’s co-writers are an interesting and diverse lot, ranging from Queen’s Brian May (“Come To Your Senses,” one of several tracks here that would be a nice fit on B. B. King’s set list) to Hubert Sumlin (five tracks, including the clever title track and “Fired On A Thursday”) to Steve Cropper and Felix Cavaliere (“Foolin’ Yourself). Turner also teams up with Tiven for a pair of winners (“Goin’ Fishin’” and “Don’t Push Your Luck,” which is one of the highlights of the disc).

Even though there’s a boatload of guest stars on Whole Lotta Blues (vocalists Jonell Mosser on “Not Ready” and Howard Tate on “Never Too Big For The Blues”; Mason Casey on harp on several tracks; multiple guitarists including May, Cropper, and Leslie West), thanks to the productive efforts of Tiven, the focus stays on Turner, who gives a virtuoso performance on guitar and vocals.

Whole Lotta Blues is easily one of the most pleasant surprises of 2010, but it also stands as one of the best releases so far. It’s great to hear Troy Turner again after so long. Hopefully, it won’t be ten years before his next release.

--- Graham Clarke


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