Music festivals are interesting places. You go with the best of intentions of seeing certain acts and often, for any multitude of reasons, you do not make it to see all of them. But sometimes, purely by chance, you come across an act at random that captures your attention in a way that you did not expect. An example of this came at this years Indiependence Music & Arts Festival when after getting separated from my group of friends I decided to wander into the nearest tent to escape the rain and hear some music, and as a result I became acquainted with the music of Frank Turner. What followed was one of the most enjoyable hours of music seen at this years festival. Turner, who would usually be accompanied by his backing band, The Sleeping Souls, was instead performing on his own here and he cut a charismatic and engaging figure on the sizable IMRO Big Top stage.
Frank Turner is much more than your typical folk singer, his roots go far away from folk. Turner began his career as the vocalist in the post-hardcore punk band, Million Dead in 2001, a band that would become a big player on the punk scene in Britain at the time. However, the band would sadly decide to call it a day just four years later in 2005 due to irreconcilable differences between band members after a career that would result in two well received studio albums.
The breakup of the Million Dead would provide Turner with the opportunity to investigate his other love of folk and country music, a love that would be inspired by a listen of the Bruce Springsteen album, Nebraska.
His first release in this genre would be the Campfire Punkrock EP, on the Xtra Mile Recordings label, in May 2006. The success of this EP would open the door for Turner to continue his exploration into this kind of music.
The positive reaction to Campfire Punkrock would continue with the release of Turner’s debut LP, Sleep Is for the Week, in early 2007, which would mark his transformation from punk artist to folk musician.
Since Sleep Is for the Week, Turner has gone on to release five subsequent studio EPs: Poetry of the Deed (2009); Love Ire & Song (2008); England Keep My Bones (2011); Tape Deck Heart (2013); and Positive Songs for Negative People (2015).
Frank Turner has worked meticulously to build a strong following through relentless touring schedules, exciting live shows, and serious periods of productivity in the recording studio. This writer can say with certainty after witnessing him at Indiependence that the loyal fan base that he has generated is well deserved.