Sam Turton AT HOME
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Turton's At Home recording lyrically strong
GUELPH MERCURY - 10/28/11
by Rob O'Flanagan

At Home has a punching power that moves a listener. Turton plays a smooth slide guitar with a trace of Mark Knopfler atmosphere and a Ry Cooder finesse. Indeed, the short instrumental track Chapter 11 (T'ai) has a gorgeous Cooder-like meditative quality reminiscent of the Paris, Texas soundtrack.

Turton is a good writer and a compassionate man, judging by the songs he penned on this 20-track CD. Some of those tracks are recording session sound-bites that are a cozy, homey addition to the CD.

Of the songs, about 11 are his, and one other was written with his singer/songwriter partner Jane Lewis. Walk With Me, with Lewis, is a gospel powerhouse . . . I see churches, choirs, organs and bawling masses.

Lewis also plays fluid and quite evocative accordion on a number of songs and provides background vocals with Guelph musical mainstays such as Katherine Wheatley, Laura Bird and Tannis Slimmon throughout the CD. The recording was made with a lot of help from Turton's musical friends.

Turton's social insights hold the perceptions of a man who cares about his fellow human beings and the depths of their pain. His social commentary is original and instructional.

Sinner's Child is a penetrating tune lyrically. The media loves a good murder story and will expend all kinds of ink in trying to understand the killer-their background, their motives, and their particular pathology. But in Sinner's Child, Turton reflects on a murder case in Woodstock and laments the fact no one cares to think about the killer's children-what hell they must be going through, what future awaits them. It struck home for me because I often wonder the same about those who suddenly find their lives inadvertently intertwined with that of a killer.

"We love to hate the outlaw/We even know his middle name," Turton sings. "But tell me more about his youngest son/In the shackles of his shame."

Yes, I thought, tell me more about the victims-tell me more about the killer's family.

On Yes Indeed, Turton's tenderness again comes to the fore as he encourages an empathetic worldview, one that lovingly embraces all-whether it's the junkie, the beggar or the "armchair Romeo."

At Home was literally made in Turton's Guelph home, with recording equipment set up in various parts of the house, with, as Turton describes it, "the guitar and piano in the living room, the drums in the dining room . . . the singers in the upstairs hallway."

The in-home recording set-up reminded me of Bruce Springsteen's approach on We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions. At Home achieves a similar grassroots kind of music-making experience.