An interesting trend has developed over the past couple of decades — Punk bands have inexplicably become a reliable farm system for acoustic Folk/Americana/Bluegrass explorations.
The reasons for the conversion are varied, but Punk musicians who pursue this path often cite honesty and passion as the connective tissue between their seemingly disparate genres. There are few better examples of the paradigm than British Folk banger Frank Turner.
Turner was a Metal-head early on (and remains so to this day). His first band experience came with Thrash outfit Kneejerk while Turner was still a student. The band’s first full album, The Half Life of Kissing, was released after the group broke up.
In 2001, Turner linked up with Million Dead, a four-year stint that produced two albums. Just prior to the Post Hardcore band’s 2005 demise, Turner heard Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska, an event he cites as the turning point in his career, leading to a series of solo acoustic shows that continued after Million Dead called it a day.
Turner’s solo career began in earnest with his debut EP, Campfire Punkrock, which was followed by a dizzying number of EPs, singles, full-length studio albums, rarities compilations and live DVDs, as well as a new Hardcore side project dubbed Mongol Horde.
Although influenced by Nebraska and versed in the ways of Billy Bragg, Turner has never strayed too far from his Rock roots, as evidenced by his propulsive 2011 commercial breakthrough, England Keep My Bones, and his infectiously brilliant new album Tape Deck Heart, which just missed hitting the very top of the British charts and nearly cracked the Top 50 in the U.S.
Regardless of your musical inclinations, if you’re looking for honesty and passion (and volume, in both of its contexts), Frank Turner is the man to see and hear.
FRANK TURNER & THE SLEEPING SOULS play Wednesday, Nov. 20 with The Smith Street Band and Koo Koo Kanga Roo at the Ballroom in the Taft Theatre downtown. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.