This past Thursday I went to a rock show in Nashville. What’s funny about that isn’t that a metal fan like me went to a rock and roll show; what’s really funny is that the show was performed by a Country artist. Yes, I “technically” went to a Country concert, but it certainly didn’t feel that way to me. In fact, the whole band was more rock (and metal) than most Country sensibilities would allow. But that’s not the only boundary broken that night in Nashville; and it got me wondering: Is it even possible to remain a real Country artist when you do a show that extreme? Well, if you’re Kyle Turley it is.
When Kyle Turley and Tim Pickett (President of Gridiron Records) invited me to Nashville to see the showcase, I knew I had to go. I had never spent time in Nashville but I kept hearing how cool it is. And since it takes about a tank of gas to get there from here, there was really no reason to miss the fun. And I’m so glad I went. Not only did I get a serious schooling in music done authentically, but I also made some new friends in the process.
Turley played five songs for the fans, record executives, agents, critics, and other industry people attending. I’d like to explain the show sonically in terms that a country reviewer would use, but I keep going back to metal classificatory terms which may or may not serve my purpose here. Basically, Turley kicked my ass. So there. I said it. I was impressed with a Country show. And so much so that I am officially endorsing this artist. Fuck you if you don’t like it.
You might actually be impressed to know that the Turley band is made up of metal and rock musicians: Joe Fazzio of Superjoint Ritual, and Zak Godwin and Rob Ogles of Flexar. And you might also be impressed to know that Turley is an extreme metal fan and has been all his life. But what is most impressive is how Turley and his band have used their influences to reinvent a Country sound that is more than just some guys trying to sound Country. No, it’s a true organic evolution and a real representation of what happens when you let Country music happen instead of manufacturing what a pollster tells you is popular.
This weekend in Nashville I got to hang out with some of the coolest people on the planet (that’s a story for another time) and I got to hear some great music - some great Country music. I can’t explain why this is not a typical review of a showcase, rather in some way it’s just a statement on how it all felt. Before Katrina, New Orleans always felt like home to me. And since moving back to Alabama, I have had that sense of coming full circle; but nothing has felt like home faster or more gracefully than Nashville. And in some way, the Turley show had a lot to do with that.