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The Turner Diaries

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Eddie Turner made a lot of noise last year with his remarkable debut release, Rise, which was nominated for the 2006 Blues Music Award for Best New Artist Debut. Definitely not one to continue plowing through the already well-furrowed blues landscape, the former lead guitarist for Otis Taylor plunged into uncharted territory with his debut, which featured his blues, rock, funk, soul, and jazz influences combined in an impressively eclectic mixture. His incredible guitar work, highly original but combining aspects of Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Tommy Bolin, and even Ry Cooder, further sealed the deal.

Turner’s recently released follow-up, The Turner Diaries (NorthernBlues Music), proves to be as adventurous as its predecessor.

The disc kicks off with the hard-rocking “Dangerous,” which modernizes the traditional “Natural Man” theme, giving it a catchy guitar riff. It’s a great opening track. “So Many Roads” is not the Otis Rush song, but is an original by Turner, which has a funk backdrop (keyboards courtesy of disc producer Kenny Passarelli). “Cost of Freedom” is the most Hendrix-like track on the disc, and Turner has a soaring guitar solo at the end that is very reminiscent of the Voodoo Chile.

“I’m A Man” and “Shake 4 Me” are both electrified tributes to the Mississippi brand of blues, as is “Jody,” a new vibrant look at the familiar soul/blues theme. The tracks “Confessions,” an instrumental with a “Hendrix meets Santana” vibe, the psychedelic “New Day,” and “Pomade,” a bluesy instrumental, all give Turner a chance to display his formidable guitar chops. A loose-limbed take of the Freddy King classic “I’m Tore Down” closes the disc on a high note.

Turner’s original compositions were a highlight of his previous disc and, if anything, he has improved in that department this time around. The spooky title track and “Save My Life” both drip with tension and desperation. Most of the other tracks (“I’m Tore Down” is the only cover) are considerably lighter fare and Turner shows that he is adept at writing in either style.

If there were any doubts that Eddie Turner was going to be a major force in the immediate future of the blues, The Turner Diaries should put them to rest once and for all.

If you liked Rise, you’ll love The Turner Diaries. Look for Turner to pick up a few more nominations at next year’s Blues Music Awards.

--- Graham Clarke, Blues Bytes



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