Eddie Turner – Change in Me
10 songs – 46 minutes
Born in Cuba, but raised in Chicago, guitarist Eddie Turner has always been one of the most intriguing performers in music today, delivering his own brand of trance blues that’s totally different. He shines like a diamond in this set, delivering a set of originals and well-chosen covers that are never overpowering and always deeply azure despite their rock edge.
Nicknamed Devil Child, he picked up the guitar at age 12 and almost immediately started playing in groups with his peers, often spending weekends cutting heads with fellow guitarists as they tried to replicate Eric Clapton’s runs on “Crossroads” and other favorites. He also started sneaking in to clubs when he could and hanging out in alleys when he couldn’t to hear Howlin’ Wolf, B3 wizard Jimmy Smith and Chicago Transit Authority at play.
Turner’s been based out of the Denver area for decades after relocating to study liberal arts at the University of Colorado, where quickly realized his future was in music after seeing Tommy Bolin when he was a member of the blues-rock band Zephyr. After a stint in the punk/R&B group, The Immortal Nightflames, he toured the world with Tracey Nelson and Mother Earth in the mid-‘70s before becoming Zephyr’s guitarist for their final album, Heartbeat.
That group disbanded following the death of lead singer Candy Givens, and Turner left music for a while – only to be lured back into it by former Joe Walsh, Ringo Starr and more bassist/keyboard player Kenny Passarelli to join the original lineup of the Otis Taylor Band. Coincidentally, Otis had served as Zephyr’s bassist for a spell. Five albums later, he launched a solo career, becoming a 2006 finalist in the Blues Music Awards for his debut CD, Rise. His most recent previous release, Naked in Your Face, was a 2016 Blues Blast Music Awards nominee for contemporary album of the year.
A man who possesses a relaxed vocal delivery that draws frequent, favorable comparisons to Jimi Hendrix, Eddie’s influences today encompass everything from Miles Davis and Bobby “Blue” Bland to classic rock. This album was co-produced in partnership with Passarelli and Tim Stroh and recorded in both Brooklyn, N.Y., and Leadville, Colo. It’s hypnotic, powerful and soothing as it delivers a melting pot of sounds and stream-of-consciousness lyrics. The lineup includes Passarelli along with Neal Evans on B3 and percussion, drummers Dean Oldencott and David Brenowitz and Jessie Lee Thetford, who’s featured in various settings throughout.
“Change in Me” sets the stage for what’s to come, easing out of the gate with minimal guitar runs and keys before building in intensity. It’s the first of several songs that relate inner struggle and torment as Eddie states that he’s looking forward to the day when “some man will take me down.” A medium-paced, multi-layered shuffle, “Dignify Me,” a not-too-subtle statement about racial equality in which Turner insists he’s a man of the world who stands behind no one.
A sweetened, unhurried cover of Hendrix’s “My Friend” takes on new feel thanks to Eddie’s reading before the original, “This Is Your Night,” finds a lady friend pouring a glass of wine during an evening of respite among observations about revenge, jealousy and romance. It’s followed by an interesting reading of Lou Reed’s “I’m Waiting for My Man” and the original “Standing on the Frontline,” a declaration of unwavering strength in the face of adversity with lyrics that include: “See the man, his head held high. Steal his voice, he can never cry. Breaks the chains, turns around. They’re still trying to tear him down.”
Up next, “Another Sign of Weakness” keeps the inner war raging as Turner notes that people consider him to be lucky, but “I can’t figure out who I am.” The action warms temporarily for the medium-paced “Whoa, Whoa, Whoa,” a warning to his woman that she’s sorely mistaken if she thinks he’s going to change because he’s “been a sinner, and it’s too late to be a saint.” Two more treasures bring the album to a close: an original love song that advises “take my heart,” but “Let My Soul Run Free” and one of the most interesting reworkings of Willie Dixon’s “Hoochie Koochie Man” you’ll ever hear.
If you’re unfamiliar with Eddie Turner, dive in to this one. You’ll be tripping on his lyrics as your feet keep the beat. It’s definitely not your grandparents’ blues, you’ll be finding something new in Change in Me every time you give it a listen. Truly different, and strongly recommended.