James John Turner is a singer-songwriter with some considerable history in his home town of Liverpool. The city's diverse musical melting pot was a heady influence on James, who started playing guitar and singing from a ridiculously young age. His first gig was at the tender age of 9 when his band “The Fractions” supported Herman’s Hermits at the Liverpool Cavern, largely playing rhythm and blues. He also wrote his own songs from an early age, and by his early teens most of the set he performed was self-penned. After leaving school at the age of 15 James began working at the Liverpool docks, but he continued to throw himself into his music, and played most evenings and weekends in the city.
When the gigs started to rack up James had to make a choice – so in his early twenties he chose the music and after quitting the day job he fronted several different line-ups including Lies all Lies, playing a rock'n'roll-meets-new-wave guitar style music; hanging around in the legendary Eric’s Club. Later he fronted The Electric Morning and released records on the Liverpool indie label Probe Records. But not wanting to just be a local band, the Electric Morning toured with American bands such as the Rain Parade, True West, the Beat Farmers and The Long Riders, playing all around the UK and Europe. Both John Peel and Andy Kershaw played the Electric Morning records enthusiastically. James quickly attracted the interest of the UK music media. Kev Sampson in Melody Maker said "it's the singer that makes this lot special, with a manic stage presence and a huge Bono style voice".
After paying his dues on the road James decided to open a studio, which turned out to be the renowned Liverpool Hard City Studios. It was in Hard City that James recorded his debut solo album: The Believer that was finished and mastered in Abbey Road Studios in London (by Chris Blair, who had worked on “Abbey Road” with the Beatles).
The Believer was released to massively positive critical acclaim (Sean McGhee of Rock ‘n’ Reel said James “certainly makes an impression with the most immediate and accessible singer/songwriter sound I’ve heard in ages”) and singles released from the album garnered extensive national and European radio playlisting. Such was the interest generated that the album was selected by Virgin/BPI for their Best of British US Campaign, which distributed The Believer in Virgin shops throughout North America. James was the only male singer/songwriter selected for this campaign. The Believer has an Americana - Rootsy feel that the USA loved – the response was immense with all copies selling out.
From 2008 James started working on music that went even more back to his roots, inspired partly by the music he was listening to at the time which included the Incredible String Band, Dick Gaughan, Fairport Convention and Martin Carthy. The songs that James wrote at this time eventually became the album “How Could We Be Wrong?" which was released in 2012. For this album James used acoustic guitars, mandolin and fiddle, as well as a rhythm section and featured Henry Priestman on accordion, Mark Knight the “Mad Fiddler” on violin, Etienne Girard on bass, Paul Walsham on drums and Vicky Mutch on cello. There has been great critical acclaim for this album, here are a few excerpts from the many great reviews:
“James J Turner is a superb talent; a strong mature musician, with a great sound.” Classic Rock Society Magazine
“How Could We Be Wrong? is probably the very best folk rock record of 2012. A must listen release, an album which quite simply puts others into the shade. So organic sounding it’s like it’s been lived and breathed into existence”. Ringmaster Review
“Rating: 5/5 …. How Could We Be Wrong? really is one of the best folk sounding albums that I have heard so far in 2012 … Turner has a rich and hypnotic sound to his voice … he is a great song-writer ….the album is right on every single level and I can’t wait to see what he does next.” MALEXTRA / FEMALE FIRST Celebrity Magazines
“How Could We Be Wrong? is so right on every level …. this is music that makes it’s mark – hard and deep …. Potent lyrics, a rich powerful voice, timeless acoustic rock-tinged folk … played live could easily attain anthemic status” Tim Carroll, Folkwords
“Passionate … Mike Scott with a baseball bat … Turner delivers with an honesty and commitment” Steve Caseman, R2 Magazine
“Tremendous, strident vocals … music with oomph but also integrity” Pete Fyfe, Maverick Magazine .
“… driving rock rhythms combined effortlessly with a Irish folky feel … James’s passionate vocals convey the down to earth authenticity and simple wisdom his lyrics bring ... memorable melodic lines. ” Janet Roe, Folking.com
“it’s all quite irresistible, so How Could Anyone fail to warm to James’s music?” David Kidman, Folk and Roots Magazine
“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.” Steve Tay, A Musical Priority Magazine
At the moment (Spring 2013) James is again back in a studio in Liverpool, writing and recording new material for an album pencilled in for a late Summer / Autumn 2013 release. James has been a member of OBOD (Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids) since 2011 and his spirituality has imbued his new songs with an even stronger nature-based feel, in addition to reflecting the usual James J Turner characteristic themes which include concern for the human struggle and deep affinity with the land.
James John Turner - Vocals, Acoustic Guitars
Album: How Could We Be Wrong? released September 2012
Single: How Could we be Wrong? released July 2012
Single: Let Love Into Your Heart released 10th September 2012
Single: Forever No More released November 2012
Album: The Believer 2009, to be re-released Winter 2012 / 2013
Single: To be With You Again 2008
Single: Love will come Around 2007
Single: Follow your Light 2006
James J Turner previous releases include:
The Electric Morning: Mini LP
The Electric Morning single: Walk with the Saints / Crying
Review from Folkwords
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There are some albums that evoke the past, some that touch the present and others that move effortle...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).
'How Could We Be Wrong?' is available on Amazon, iTunes and www.jjturner.com.
Reviewer: Tim Carroll
Album review from The Ringmaster Review
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There has been some quite special folk orientated albums this year, whether a more traditional appro...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.
Album review from Malextra / Femail First Magazines
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Rating: 5/5 The album (has) a sound that will thrill his long standing fans while it is a great ...Rating: 5/5
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
Album Review from R2 Magazine
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James J Turner (has) passionate delivery, coming across like Mike Scott with a baseball bat on "How ...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
Album Review from Maverick Magazine & UK Folk Music Magazine
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Thrash, bang, wallop…ah where would the 'folk' world be without a bit of Pogues inspired energy? The...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
Album Review from North West Folk Magazine
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Categorisation aside, is it any good? Well, yes it is - all songs are self-penned, with some more m...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
Selection of Rock 'n' Reel Reviews
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“JAMES TURNER” certainly makes an impression with possibly the most immediate and accessible singer/...“JAMES TURNER” certainly makes an impression with possibly the most immediate and accessible singer/songwriter sound I’ve heard in ages ....
with a distinctive sixties folk-pop leaning …..
Turner’s vocals are strong and expressive, with a distinctive depth of delivery
Delivered with authority and a touch of class”
Review of single "Follow your Light"
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“This Liverpudlian singer/songwriter Turner should appeal to Springsteen and Beatles fans alike. By ...“This Liverpudlian singer/songwriter Turner should appeal to Springsteen and Beatles fans alike. By mixing folky vocals and raw guitars he produces a direct, warm sound with bittersweet choruses.”
Review from Folk & Roots
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Think somewhere between the Pogues and the Waterboys, a rousing folky-rocky concoction with super-st...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 ... 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 courtesy of Henry Priestman, Mark Knight, Vicky Mutch, Étienne Girard and Paul Walsham. It’s a classic sound for sure, richly upholstered and satisfying, and unlikely to disappoint folk-rock fans, especially in the areas of soaring cello and violin lines (Vicky and Mark respectively). Thoughtful numbers like Silver And Gold make their mark very fast, and several of the remaining tracks also feel like songs waiting to be covered by other artists at an early opportunity. The whole affair is effortlessly immediate in impact ... played loud and enjoyed on its own terms, it’s all quite irresistible, so How Could Anyone fail to warm to James’s music?
Review from A Musical Priority
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‘How Could We Be Wrong’ is the new album from Liverpool born and bred singer songwriter James J Turn...‘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.
Review from Classic Rock Society Magazine
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With a neat line in lyrics, a great sound crossing genres from folk, to blues, to American bar blues...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.
Review from NetRhythms.co.uk
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Very much a folk rock album with a definite Liverpool Irish flavour, it comes out of the stall in su...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.
European Magazine Review
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James J. Turner is een in het Engelse Liverpool opgegroeide muzikant die al op erg jonge leeftijd in...James J. Turner is een in het Engelse Liverpool opgegroeide muzikant die al op erg jonge leeftijd interesse vertoonde om op podia de show te komen stelen met zijn zang en gitaarspel. Hij belandde in de voorbije jaren in diverse lokale groepjes, maar nu is hij een gewaardeerde singer-songwriter van folkrockliedjes en heeft hij na zijn smaakvolle debuutplaat “The Believer” een tweede album als soloartiest op de markt gebracht onder de titel “How Could We Be Wrong?”.
Het is met dit gelijknamige uptempo rocknummer (zie video) dat de uit dertien songs bestaande tracklist begint. Daarna volgt de meer typisch traditionele folksong “Forever No More” die ook als eerste single uit dit album werd gelanceerd en waarin de ‘tin whistle’ regelmatig voor een leuk klinkend instrumentaal intermezzo zorgt. Intussen is er met de vrolijk swingende folkrocksong “Let Love Into Your Heart” ook al een tweede single uit deze plaat op de markt gekomen.
Voor dit tweede album greep James J. Turner terug naar zijn originele muzikale roots en verwerkte hij meer traditionele instrumenten in zijn songs. Zo is er een strijkerensemble te horen met Mark Knight op viool en Vicky Muth op cello, terwijl Henry Priestman voor gesmaakte bijdragen op accordeon zorgt.
Bij de meest beklijvende songs rekenen wij de ballads “Beyond The Pain” en “Tomorrow’s Another Day”, het passionele “Silver And Gold”, het door traditionele instrumentatie overheerste troubadoursliedje “Once Upon A Time” waarin de sound van ‘The Pogues’ terug te horen is en de heerlijke accordeon- en strijkersklanken in slotnummer “Around The Next Corner”, voor ons simpelweg geselecteerd als de allerbeste song op deze plaat.
Indien u ook zou willen vernemen wat de mindere songs op “How Could We Be Wrong?” zijn, dan moeten we u helaas teleurstellen want die hebben we echt niet kunnen vinden op deze mooie folkplaat waarbij ook de vocale prestatie van James J. Turner zeker een aparte vermelding verdient.
Review of single "Let Love Into Your Heart"
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James J Turner proves it isn’t all grim up north. ‘Let Love Into Your Heart’ is a happy-clappy, chee...James J Turner proves it isn’t all grim up north. ‘Let Love Into Your Heart’ is a happy-clappy, cheery song that will wash away any gloomy mood. There’s something beautiful about a Liverpudlian man singing a jubilant song; it’s warm, endearing and a guaranteed pick-you-up. Turner chants ‘when torrent turns to deluge’ in the midst of dreary British weather but this is a song to fill the dizzy heights of a humid summer day. After a couple of listens to this, it sure is easy to let this guy into your heart.
How Could We Be Wrong?
Beyond the Pain
Silver and Gold
Forever No More
Let Love Into Your Heart
Around the next Corner
Walk the Bridge
Follow your Light
|May 26, 2013 Sunday||4:00 PM||Folk and Cider Festival||Cleethorpes, GB|
|Jul 20, 2013 Saturday||TBA||Warrington Festival||Warrington, GB|