James J Turner is a singer-songwriter in the folk-rock genre, with some considerable history in his home town of Liverpool. His second solo album "How Could We Be Wrong?" was released in 2012 and received fabulous reviews that many other, even established, artists can only dream of – even those signed to major record deals. The album was called “ground-breaking” and “the best folk-rock album of the year" by critics, and James was praised for his song-writing and performing skills (particularly his powerful voice). Songs from this album gained significant UK and European radio airplay; they were played by BBC regional radio stations, specialist folk shows, plus internet and community radio stations, and James built on this success with live radio sessions (interviews and live performances).
The success of "How Could We Be Wrong?" is a measure of the irresistible and high quality of the music on this album; and as a result of this success over the past 18 months James has attracted a following of more than 20,000 loyal fans from all over the world – an amazing achievement for a completely independent artist.
James’s music also attracts many fans from the Pagan communities. In recent years James has deliberated to consciously follow a Druidic - Bardic path; he is a member of OBOD, who are the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. James's music is therefore imbued with his empathy for the human struggle, complex spiritual landscapes, plus a deep concern for the environment, and as a result his music is regularly included on Pagan radio playlists and enjoyed by people of all spiritual faiths.
At the moment (early 2014) James is again back in a studio in Liverpool, writing and recording new material for an album pencilled in for a later 2014 release. Due to the success of his previous album, this new work is eagerly anticipated by both fans and radio presenters alike.
James’s home town of Liverpool is a diverse musical melting pot, and this 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?" 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.