Karen Turley 'New Strings': Single Review
100%Overall Score

Having already given the world a number of absolute Americana gems, such as It Would Be Nice, Headed Home and Dreamer, Karen Turley again hits the musical bullseye with her new single New Strings. This is a song that evokes a golden age of stateside bluegrass, with her vocal delivery and nuance adding to these first impressions. The arrangement and production of the track is utterly symbiotic to the artists intentions, and highly successful. For example the pedal steel guitar, cascading backing vocals, tasteful percussion, all drive the track to its intended destination, the affirmation of love.

But New Strings shows just what attributes La Turley has with regard to her compositional skills, not only lyrically and musically, but also intellectually. The song actually reminded me of Ted Hughes’ Thought Fox, in that both pieces actually confront the sometimes – more often than not – process of creating, whether it be a piece of writing, a song, or a poem. “A blank page” is where we all start off – even here. How many times has the creative process involved staring at a coffee cup? But out of all this memory searching, travelling back in the mind’s eye to when things were somewhat simpler, the narrator realises that the real subject matter is before her. And so New Strings is multi-layered, but stands finally as a quite beautiful love song that affirms the most important thing in life. The song ends with Turley singing “I’m a fool” perhaps realising that the most important things in life can often be found the closest to us.

With New Strings, Karen Turley has once again proved that she is an artist of considerable talent, and is building upon an already impressive body of work. It is joyous and uplifting, released at just the right time of year. Put this on your playlist, and be instantly transported to frontier country, where the horizon is so wide, hopes travel northwards, and all possibilities are awaiting fulfilment. Impressive.

Karen Turley appears at @81RenshawStreet on Saturday 12th May 2018, as part of the Klee Music Acoustic Night. Tickets available from www.kleemusic.co.uk, £7.50 in advance, £10.00 on the door.

Steve Kinrade