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STEVE TURNER - Rim Of The Wheel

STEVE TURNER - Rim Of The Wheel
The Tradition Bearers LTCD1104

After a long break from performing and recording, this is Steve Turner’s second album in four years and, more than ever, it shows a performer with the reins held tightly in his grasp.

One of the most compelling aspects of Turner is his unshowiness. Without fuss or fash he has assembled a cast of backing musicians the calibre of Martin Carthy, Pete Flood, Moira Craig and co-producer Oliver Knight, not to mention a firm fistful of compelling and unusual songs. Diamonds from the traditional canon there are many, all bearing Turner’s distinctive stamp.

His rendition of Jordan, set to Ali Burns’ dark tune, is fantastically assured, as is an anglicised version of the impish Lass Of The Moorland Hills. There are also two songs from the pen of Paul Metsers, one - The Crows They Crow, from which the album’s title originates - written in homage to Nic Jones. But perhaps the most striking and surprising song of all is the tribute to the Munich Air Disaster, Eric Winter’s Flowers Of Manchester (set to a Norwegian hymn tune, Store Store Gud), which is possessed of a stark immediacy worthy of comparison with the most enduring songs in the tradition.

Whether a cappella or accompanied by sensitive guitar/cittern and masterful English concertina, Turner’s ability to hold the listener rapt as the stories unfold is a delight. The titular ‘rim of the wheel’ may suggest the sharp edge of uncertainty, but the album itself proclaims the quiet assurance of a man sharing his talents with those who care to listen.

Clare Button

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This album was reviewed in Issue 92 of The Living Tradition magazine.