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BLUES REVUE
THE WORLD’S LARGEST BLUES PUBLICATION,
DEVOTED TO THE LISTENER AND MUSICIAN WHOSE
MUSICAL PASSION IS THE FULL SPECTRUM OF THE BLUES
www.bluesrevue.com


EDDIE TURNER
Rise
NorthernBlues 0027

Out from Otis Taylor’s shadow comes guitarist Eddie Turner with a statement of his own. Where Taylor mines a mini­malist, disturbing vein, Turner peppers his music with equal parts rock, funk, and gospel, guided by a love of Hendrixian guitar. Producer Kenny Passarelli afforded Taylor a precision that helped him define his unique sound; here, Passarelli complements Turner’s voice with multilayered textures that lean on per­cussion, thudding bass, and (unlike Taylor’s pro­jects) the very real drums of Mark Clark.
The title track’s eerie soundscape makes the most of Turner’s neo-psychedelic guitar lines; they stab out of the gloom flanked by military drums, exotic background singers, and biblical passages. "The River” makes an indelible impression and is the record's standout performance: Its percussive, slide-driven dip into the Mississippi is both cleansing and apocalyptic, a thor­oughly original cocktail where modern production merges with the past. “Resurrection” takes little more than three guitar parts and bass to weave a darkly intriguing path down the dirt tracks of a chilling Southern night.
It’s not surprising that Turner covers “The Wind Cries Mary,” but his unexpectedly fresh delivery speaks highly of his confidence. In truth, he’s full of surprises - from his fresh reinvention of Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s “Gangster of Love” to his Satriani-esque “It’s Me” to the a cappella spiritual attack of “Sin.” The screaming guitar that opens “Play It Cool” sets up Turner’s limitation - his soft-spoken whisper of a vocal lacks the bite of his instrument. But Passarelli artfully disguises the weakness:
Case in point is the spoken-word “Privileged Life,” with its guitarslinger signature. When Turner tosses in some funk on the final two tracks, “Secret” winds up leaving the strongest impres­sion, thanks to a generous helping of B-3 and Anna Givens’ background vocals. Rise isn’t for everybody- it might cause the eyebrows of purists to do just that -but it represents a strong, highly stylized release from an artist previously in the back­ground. The timing is right for Eddie Turner to make his stand.
ERIC THOM

 


 

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