Whole Lotta Blues
Troy 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
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