Reviews for James J Turner's 2012 album
"How Could We Be Wrong?"
There are some albums that evoke the past, some that touch the present and others that move effortlessly between the two – ‘How Could We Be Wrong?’ from James J Turner does that with ease. Equally at home 30 years ago or tomorrow this is an album of timeless acoustic rock-tinged folk, made up of incisive songs that echo encounters and experiences blended with feeling and familiarity.
Singer-songwriter James J Turner reflects the cross-pollinated musical world of his native Liverpool, mixed with his essential understanding of what makes a good song. Add to that his song writing skills, ability to dispense a good lyric and a rich, powerful voice. This is music that makes its mark – hard and deep. The opener ‘How Could We Be Wrong?’ is so right on every level, especially with its burgeoning drum and fiddle tracks. And just to hammer home the point ‘Forever No More’ drives the intensity even deeper with its hymn to lost certainty, while ‘Gone Away’offers more folk rock energy.
James moves the presence of his potent lyrics to different places with the mournful ‘Walk The Bridge’, changes step once more as his voice drives the lyrics of ‘Beyond The Pain’ over the insistent fiddle and vitality-soaked percussion. Then ‘Silver and Gold’ hits a singular high spot with its searching passion and depth. The doleful accordion and whistle combination imparts an unmistakable Celtic feel to ‘Once Upon A Time’ perhaps the most obviously folk sensation on the album, and with their expansive feel ‘Blow Away’ and ‘Around The Next Corner’ played live could easily attain anthemic status.
On ‘How Could We Be So Wrong?’ James plays 6 and 12-string acoustic guitars, mandolin, whistles and bodhran; he’s joined by the deft touches of Etienne Girard (bass guitar) Paul Walsham (drums, percussion) Mark ‘Mad Fiddler’ Knight (violin) Henry Priestman (accordion) and Vicky Mutch (cello).
Reviewer: Tim Carroll
READ THE COMPLETE REVIEW HERE: http://www.folkwords.com/reviewarchive_85383.html
From: The Ringmaster Review
There has been some quite special folk orientated albums this year, whether a more traditional approached release or a rock/folk fusion, but How Could We Be Wrong? from James J Turner is something special again, an album which quite simply puts most others into the shade. Whereas other albums as good as they truly are, sound written to be a collection of good songs, How Could We Be Wrong? is so organic sounding it is like it has been lived and breathed into existence.
How Could We Be Wrong?, recorded and mixed by Ronnie Stone, finds Turner returning to his roots. The songs thrive in the use of vibrant instruments like mandolin, violin, cello, and accordion alongside acoustic guitars, the combination a warm and stirring union to inspire. The tracks are diverse and continually shifting their stance, whether a more traditional folk breath, to a rock toned romp, or a punk edged brew, each one treats the ear to a natural and fluid presence to light up dark corners whilst evoking thoughts within new emotional shadows. The premise of the tracks stem from the heart of spirituality, people, and honest lives, as well as offering an affinity with nature, all enforcing the organic feel of the album.
The album opens on a stormer of a song in the title track. From its opening scythe of the violin and the compelling whistle kiss the song romps across the ear with energy and attitude. The Irish/Celtic feel is a large voice within the song and alongside the inciteful energy brings thoughts of bands like Flogging Molly to the fore. The violin of Mark Knight is a sonic delight alongside the punchy rhythms of drummer Paul Walsham and the reserved yet boisterous tones of the bass of Etienne Girard but it is the voice of Turner which seals the deal, his plaintive and strong tones thrusting the lyrics and passion forth wonderfully.
The slower more emotive Forever No More sways in next with the strong whistle calls wrapping round the chorus harmonies impressively. Though rarely some songs like here did not light the same fires as others, the more raucous compositions hitting the right spot more consistently, it is down to personal preference only with the tracks still sowing a passion and undeniable impressive craft one cannot ignore or dismiss.
The likes of Walk The Bridge, Beyond The Pain, and Let Love Into Your Heart send one into a kind of reflective rapture, the songs especially like the first of the three, offering melancholic breath to immerse within. This song weaves around the thoughts with gently coaxing guitar chords and a beautiful yet mournful cello sound from Vicky Mutch, its caress an instigator of deep imagination. The second of this trio of songs soars off of a big beating pulse, the beats anthemic whilst the violin is sawing tenderly across the ear for the fullest pleasure, and the last is simply a totally infectious ball of folk n roll.
Out of only impressive tracks further songs like Silver and Gold, Never Been Born, and Once Upon A Time just light more fires of joy, the latter especially impactful. Initially the song did not quite grab the passions but during its thoughtful play it then brought out a glorious barbed melodic hook which returned intermittently. Bringing an element reminding of Echo & The Bunnymen to lie perfectly alongside the more traditional folk sounds and the accordion grace of Henry Priestman, it tipped the balance fully in the favour of the song to emerge as one of the best.
James J Turner has released in How Could We Be Wrong?, one of the best folk rock records of the year, probably the very best. A must listen release.
Reviewer: The Ringmaster
READ THE ORIGINAL REVIEW HERE: http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/09/27/james-j-turner-how-could-we-be-wrong/
Think somewhere between the Pogues and the Waterboys, a rousing folky-rocky concoction with super-strong, passionate (almost Bono-esque) lead vocal and a driving rhythm section underpinning a rootsy whistle/fiddle/mandolin/accordion front-line, giving their all on a set of original songs with an often distinctly anthemic bent. If that’s your bag, then the music of Liverpool-born singer-songwriter James J. Turner will be right up your street …this latest collection is a vibrant and super-confident album that plays to James’s strengths as a musical communicator, making the very most of his gift for accessible melody and punchy arrangement. The supporting musicianship is first-class, delivering on all counts and firing on all cylinders …. it’s all quite irresistible, so How Could Anyone fail to warm to James’s music?
Reviewer: David Kidman
READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE: http://www.folkandroots.co.uk/reviews17.html#jamesjturner
From: MALEXTRA / FEMALE FIRST etc. Celebrity Magazines
The album (has) a sound that will thrill his long standing fans while it is a great introduction to fans that are coming to his music for the very first time.
There have been some great folk sounding albums so far this year but How Could We Be Wrong? really is one of the best that I have heard so far in 2012.
How Can We Be Wrong? Is the opening track on and immediately Turner shows what kind of album this is going to be as there is a whole host of different instruments on this track to make it come alive.
Forever No More follows a similar sound, there is a great intensity to the track while Turner’s vocal is on top form.
Turner has a rich and almost hypnotic sound to his voice that suits this genre so well – not to mention that he is a great song-writer and all of his songs tell a powerful tale.
Gone Away has a real Irish folk feel to it as the violins set the pace right from the start. This is upbeat and energetic track and the strings sound fantastic.
Turner slows the pace down with Walk The Bridge in what is one of the most beautiful tracks on the record. This acoustic track really shows off the richness of Turner’s voice as he is supported simply by a guitar and some strings.
Beyond The Pain is my favourite track on the record as Turner uses the powerful lyrics to drive the song forward.
Blow Away and Around The Next Corner are perhaps the more anthemic tracks on the record but there really is no weak song on this album.
The production of this album has been kept incredibly simple as Turner has let his voice and the instrumentation do the talking.
How Could We Be Wrong? is right on every single level and there is an authenticity and a simplicity to it that makes it so easy to listen to it.
Can’t wait to see what he does next.
Reviewer: Helen Earnshaw
READ THE ORIGINAL REVIEW HERE: http://www.femalefirst.co.uk/music/reviews/album/James+J+Turner+Album+Review-259069.html
From the first bars of the opening title track “How could we be wrong?” I knew I would enjoy this album from Liverpool based musician/songwriter James J Turner. Having had a long career fronting bands James has turned his talents to writing and performing as a solo artist. The influences of his native city are imbued in his songs with driving rock rhythms combined effortlessly with a Irish folky feel. A band that consists of accordion, violin and cello, together with the guitars and rhythm section, provides eclectic settings to James songs and he too adds whistle and bodhran to his noteworthy guitar skills.
The instrumentation never dominates but always allows James passionate vocals to convey the down to earth authenticity and simple wisdom his lyrics bring. The songs have simple but memorable melodic lines with “Walk the Bridge”, “Forever No More” and “How Could We Be Wrong?” the stand out tracks for me.
Reviewer: Janet M Roe
FROM: R2 (ROCK N REEL) MAGAZINE
James J Turner (has) passionate delivery, coming across like Mike Scott with a baseball bat on “How Could We Be Wrong?” the angry opening title track to his second album.
The Liverpool singer-songwriter, with a considerable history on his home city’s music scene and in various cult acts, returns to his acoustic roots on an album that illuminates the connections between Ireland and Liverpool (most especially on the big ballad “Once Upon A Time”). Broad swathes of fiddle, and mandolin, whistle and accordian plus a rocking rhythym section help propel twelve Turner originals delivered with a distinct, rough croon that brings to mind Tom Jones.
Throughout, Turner delivers with an honesty and commitment, on songs that tear away at the greed of bankers and the wealthy (“Gone Away” and “Silver and Gold”).”How Could We Be Wrong?” makes on apologies or concessions to those who like their music wrapped in smooth, overly produced studio sheen, and is all the better for it.
Reviewer: STEVE CASEMAN
FROM: AMP (A Musical Priority)
‘How Could We Be Wrong’ is the new album from Liverpool born and bred singer songwriter James J Turner. James has been around the Liverpool music scene all his life, playing gigs in the Cavern from the age of 9. James has devoted his entire life to music, and listening to this new album it is clear that this is a man who has music running through his veins.
‘How Could We Be Wrong’ is a collection of thirteen songs, that combine acoustic, rock, and folk. The album opens with the title track which launches straight into lyrics sung with an immense amount of passion, the combination of fiddle and drums throughout the song ensures there is plenty here to keep the listener entertained. ‘Forever No More’ is a reflective ballad that will leave you longing for days gone by whilst ‘Gone Away’ builds into a chorus that you will instantly be singing along to.
Each song on the album has been put together with a great deal of thought and attention by a musician who more than cares about the songs he creates. Further highlights include ‘Walk The Bridge’ which has a rather sombre feel to it, ensuring you concentrate on every word that is being sung. ‘Let Love Into Your Heart’ is a song so full of joy and excitement, ‘Silver and Gold’ a heartfelt tender moment that deserves to be heard by as many people as possible, ‘Once Upon A Time’ a traditional sounding folk song and ‘Tomorrow’s Another Day’ which combines melodies and positive lyrics in such a passionate way.
The real greatness of ‘How Could We Be Wrong’ is that it is one of those albums that crosses generations of music. This is an album that will never sound dated.
Reviewer: STEVE TAY
READ THE ORIGINAL REVIEW HERE:
From: FATEA Magazine, UK FOLK MUSIC Magazine & Maverick Magazine
Thrash, bang, wallop…ah where would the ‘folk’ world be without a bit of Pogues inspired energy? There’s no standing around on ceremony for Turner, no, he just gets stuck in with refreshing sounds of punk-folk utilising the services of Etienne Girard (bass), Paul Walsham (drums & percussion), Mark Knight (violin), Vicky Mutch (cello) and Henry Priestman (accordion).
My word, on the track “Forever No More” he even has a bash at the whistle the like of which I haven’t heard since the days of Tony Davis using the same instrument in The Spinners …. where he comes into his own is on the cleanly picked guitar and cello led “Walk The Bridge” where the subtlety of the piece is striking …
There’s no lacking in confidence in his tremendous, strident vocals unlike those displayed on ‘reality’ shows such as ‘The Voice’ where it’s also obvious that his years of experience are displayed like a badge of honour. If you like your ‘folk’ music with a bit of oomph but also performed with integrity you could do worse than give this engaging piece of work a spin.
Reviewer: PETE FYFE
Very much a folk rock album with a definite Liverpool Irish flavour, it comes out of the stall in surging form with the rousing title track which, driven along by drums and fiddle, sits somewhere between The Waterboys and The Pogues. With its whistle, acoustic strum, waltzing rhythm and anthemic refrain, Forever No More’s lament for those sent to war keeps the impetus going while Gone Away makes it three in an energetic folk rock row.
The passing-time themed Walk The Bridge takes the pace and mood down a notch, cello adding emotional colour to the circling guitar motif before a tribal drum pattern ushers in the Beyond The Pain with its soaring vocals and Mick Knight’s furious violin work to be followed by the mandolin, whistle and handclaps of the upbeat don’t let them grind you down Let Love Into Your Heart, clearly a song written with club singalongs in mind …. those seven stand-outs more than warrant adding Turner to your library.
Reviewer: MIKE DAVIES
From: Classic Rock Society Magazine
With a neat line in lyrics, a great sound crossing genres from folk, to blues, to American bar blues, and a great rocky vocal style James J Turner is a superb talent, and the music on this album is the sound of a strong mature musician, with a great sound.
From: LIVERPOOL SOUND AND VISION
Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
With a new album being worked upon, James J. Turner is one of those fortunate and rather splendid musicians who seem to find that the creative juices just never seem to stop flowing. The words, the songs that he sings with a hand over his heart storm through like the constant majestic water that goes over Niagara Falls. An ever flowing set that incorporates beauty and time and in his 2012 album How Could We Be Wrong? this is exemplified and justified.
If the lyrics are stunning then the way the music is presented alongside it is a relentless torrent of splendid attraction. Like the Niagara, it is something you cannot tear yourself away from. Just even a second away could see the listener missing a tiny detail. That rush someone gets when they realise the power of the river that gives Ontario and the northern part of New York State its unceasing attractive, freshly picked rose like quality, is stamped throughout How Could We Be Wrong? It is also as deep as the river that stems from its crashing sentiment which sees James joined by the likes of The Mono L.P.s’ sensational cellist Vicky Mutch, Etienne Girard on bass, Mark Wright on violin, the fabulous Henry Priestman (ex-Christians) on accordion and Steve Rothwell on the fiddle who performs on the track Let Love Into Your Heart.
It is Vicky Mutch though who probably gives James his greatest addition to the album. Not that James needs help of course because on this type of showing he could sit there with just a guitar and the music would drip feed its way into the listener’s conscious.
With an album full of stand-out songs full of life and verve, it is always a particular hard task to recommend even just a couple but this album deserves to be heard in full, not dipped in and out of like a conversation half heard on the bus home. From start to finish a real pleasure to listen to and wallow in the sense of pride, the charisma and fortitude in that a great musician can bring to the people of the city.
Reviewer: Ian D. Hall
READ THE FULL ORIGINAL REVIEW HERE:
From: NORTH WEST FOLK MAGAZINE
Categorisation aside, is it any good? Well, yes it is – all songs are self-penned, with some more memorable than others, but there’s plenty to like here. The opening track is an energetic affair, driven on by Etienne Girard’s bass and with Paul Walsham beating the shit out of his drumkit. How could we be wrong? asks Turner. How indeed, and you wouldn’t argue with him ‘cause he doesn’t sound best pleased.
At the other end, the album closes out well with three quieter melodic tracks, Blow Away, Tomorrow’s Another Day and best of all, Around The Next Corner. The folk influence is clearer and the accompaniments more lush.
In between, the powers that be get a rightful kicking on Silver and Gold and there’s a fulsome and pleasing low-note background on Beyond the Pain that tends toward the hypnotic.
This is a musician who’s done more than his fair share in front of a microphone returning to his roots. The album should have no shortage of takers.
Reviewer: LES PILLING
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