Art  Turner
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Art Turner

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Music

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"Here is the high art of the solo guitar: big, bold, atmospheric; percussive, lyrical, full-frontal, tranquil; meditative, incendiary... In the heart and hands of Art Turner, we hear the hegemony of Hedges, the fleet fingerwork of Fahey, the blaze of Basho, and lyricism of Lang... And underneath it all, never very far from the surface, the sure-handed skills of one hell of a steel-string picker." - Jurgen Gothe, CBC Disc Drive


"The fingerstyle art of guitar playing by Turner is feverishly bright and achingly beautiful." - Dirty Linen


"Art Turner's release Jade is full of music as dense and alluring as the fabled green stone. The notes flow out of him with the freshness, kineticism, and exploratory urgency of winter runoff surging down a mountain stream.

With a rich and resonant sound he plays a string of original, melodically strong and restlessly inventive explorations that follow many paths but always end up somewhere. Nimble and adventurous, his complex fingerpicking produces waves of notes and his tone is marvellous.

His playing is incandescent, his tunes seething with life's moods and drives. They don't always follow a strict melody line, but seem to search around for interesting moments, stopping here and there to nail the moods in a passionate embrace with his superb technical command, and then move on again and again. This disc is a great listen." - Penguin Eggs


Art Turner's is one of my favourite Manitoba music stories. He's a motocross racer/photographer turned guitarist who picked up the guitar seriously at age 31 and has achieved international acclaim for his energetic, rousing finger-picking guitar style. On his first two discs, Turner employed other musicians but Jade finds the performer simply out there -- all alone with his guitar and his talent. He doesn't disappoint at all and will fill the room with beautiful sounds, using the entire neck of his guitar and playing percussively with almost palpable energy and aggression (just check out Good Hands for an idea of what an acoustic guitar can do). Jade will only help to cement Turner's burgeoning reputation.

RATING: "A" - John Kendle, Uptown Magazine


Red Havens Rising is the kind of CD a friend is likely to pull out of his backpack after a satisfying campfire meal, introducing it by saying, "You've GOT to hear this - it's the perfect music for conversation and star-watching..." Turner exhibits some of what's come to be known as the Windham Hill sound, but is more than few cuts above, at best evoking memories of work by guitar whizzes like Steve Hackett and Alex De Grassi. Without wanting to lapse into cliche, it could be said that Turner's music simulates or evokes something some of us see too rarely these days: the natural world. Or you could say it combines a vivid landscape (Turner lives on a Canadian prairie) with man at his most sensitive. And how can that be bad? Turner's not that well known south of the Canadian border. It would be a shame if it stayed that way, and only people with musically savvy camping buddies got to bask in these lovely and stimulating sounds. - Mary Leary, Folkwax


"Art Turner didn't pick up a guitar until he was 31 years old, because he was too busy racing professional motocross and taking artistically renowned photographs. But lest you think that you can't teach an old dog new tricks, consider this: over the last ten years, Turner has blossomed into one of Canada's finest guitarists, a fixture on CBC Radio and the folk festival circuit, and a critically acclaimed composer." - Winnipeg Folk Festival 2004


Art Turner's passionate approach to the guitar has been described as "aboriginoceltic fingerstyle worldfolk." Jade, his first solo guitar album, is a very satisfying effort. The opening track, "Dragondance," typifies his approach, which is full of percussive effects... and themes that evoke western landscapes. Turner chooses his influences well: "Berkeley Springs" recalls Ed Gerhard, while two other pieces, "Good Hands" and "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven," show similarities to Peter Finger. Art Turner's reputation is growing rapidly in Canada, and he's likely to gain a wider audience with this disc. - Minor 7th Magazine


Discography

Jade (2003)
Six Strings North of the Border, Vol. 2 (2002)
Red Havens Rising (1999)
Story Water (1997)

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Art Turner's unique brand of percussive, hauntingly emotive "aboriginoceltic fingerstyle worldfolk" is evocative, articulate, and delivered with unmistakable passion. A virtual unknown back in 2001, Turner burst onto the scene by winning an unprecedented string of Formal Showcase selections from the North American Folk Alliance, Ontario Council of Folk Festivals/Folk Alliance Canada, and the Ontario Arts Council, all in the same year. The following year he was honoured with a spot on Six Strings North of the Border Volume 2, a collection of Canada's finest acoustic guitarists that includes tunes by Bruce Cockburn, Colin Linden, and Don Ross. After only three years of performing, he's already a veteran of some of North America's most prestigious festivals and concert series -- an impressive achievement for someone who picked up the guitar at the unlikely age of 31. While Art makes use of an array of harmonic tapping, slapping, scratching, and neck-bending mojo, and can hold his own sharing workshop and concert stages with guitar giants like Kelly Joe Phelps, Tim Sparks, Michael Manring and Martin Tielli, his music has always been more about emotive energy than blazing chops and blistering speed. As Six Strings 2 producer Bill Garrett puts it, "There's no question that Art paints an aural landscape that lets the listener go far beyond their living room loudspeakers and on to other places. He is a formidable artist with a wide palette."

A former expert-class motocross racer and professional photographer of some international renown, Art took a hard left turn ten years ago when he (quite literally) traded his Hasselblad for a handmade acoustic guitar, and never looked back. Less than three years later, he attracted some of the most sought-after musicians in the world (Bruce Cockburn fiddler Hugh Marsh, Grammy-winning cellist Eugene Friesen, and bass demigod Michael Manring among them) to join him on his debut recording. Seven years and three critically-acclaimed albums later, his music has been heard around the globe on Air Canada's In-Flight Play Program, on a number of popular NPR shows south of the 49th parallel, and quite frequently on CBC Radio Canada programs like This Morning, Richardson's Roundup, As it Happens, and Disc Drive, where all of his albums have made Jurgen Gothe's Hit List of Best Albums of the Year. "Here is the high art of the solo guitar," says Gothe of Turner's third and most recent CD, Jade (2003). "Big, bold, atmospheric; percussive, lyrical, full-frontal, tranquil; meditative, incendiary... In the heart and hands of Art Turner, we hear the hegemony of Hedges, the fleet fingerwork of Fahey, the blaze of Basho, and lyricism of Lang... And underneath it all, never very far from the surface, the sure-handed skills of one hell of a steel-string picker."

Art Turner lives in Winnipeg's infamous Granola Belt with his wife Lyn and a varying number of cats, guitars, and canoes.