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CD REVIEW: Phil Turk Band -  You and I are Brave

by: Cyrus Rhodes

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Artist: Phil Turk Band
Album: You and I are Brave
Label: Independent Artist
Website:
http://www.philturkband.com/

Genre: Folk/Pop, Singer/Songwriter
Sounds Like: John Prine, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Jesse Winchester, John Gorka, Marlin Sexton
Technical Grade: 7/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7/10
Commercial Value: 7/10
Overall Talent Level: 7/10
Songwriting Skills: 7/10
Performance Skill: 7/10
Best Songs: Blush, Waiting for Morning, The Finish Line

Weakness: Winded Songs, Short Sided CD, more vocal emotion, more vocal risk taking and high pitch melodies

 

CD REVIEW: 

 

Phil Turk lives in beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado where he is a professor of Statistics at Colorado State University. The CD takes the listener on a lyrical journey through the beauty and joy of life, along with some of its inevitable difficulties, interwoven through a tapestry of pop and rock influenced by the singer-songwriter genre.  Turk will be promoting "You and I are Brave" for the remainder of this year, playing live in Fort Collins and the Denver metropolitan area.  Concurrently, he plans on forming a band and has begun writing material for a second CD.


The CD lifts off the ground nicely with Track 1, “True Happiness Under the Autumn Leaves” a heartfelt flowing intro that serves up an earthy guitar-driven groove, well placed strings, meshed against inviting Pedal Steel accents. This leads you directly into Track 2: All There is To Say” a striking ballad with thought provoking lyrical content meshed against soulful melody that gets things off the ground masterfully and methodically. Track 3, “Blush” shifts gears a bit with a steady flowing rhythm and well placed Americana-Folk ambience painted against impressive Piano, painted against a grand slam chorus. Track 4, “Waiting for Morning” is another impressive ditty that dishes full tilt rhythm section, impressive guitar licks that flows and ebbs its way through to motional fruition. The CD makes a strong first impression, dashing out 4 very solid songs in a row. The musicianship involved is above the bar. I would classify this music as classic Folk, Singer/Songwriter. Pop/Americana, with brief touches of Rock. Turk’s music is reminiscent of classic Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Jesse Winchester, John Prine, John Gorka, Marlin Sexton, Chris Smither, Paul Simon and Don MacLean. Along the way you will notice lush instrumentation with Organ, Flute, Cello, Rhythm Guitar, lush harmonies, solo guitar all built upon a ‘thick as a brick’ rhythm section. Now turning our attention over to Turk. As for his vocal abilities - he’s a solid advent for the Singer/Songwriter or Folk genre by brining a lot of passion and conventional wisdom to the table. His voice goes down smooth and fills the space peacefully and unobtrusively with a timbre that is passionate and impassioned. Kudos goes out to the drummer as he pushes the natural accents extremely well. This latest effort from Phil Turk Band delivers 7 solid timeless tracks all providing musical enjoyment filled with strong musical variety and diversity. The music of Phil Turk Band has everything you would expect from a world class musical production. From heartfelt “Flow Like a River” to invigorating “The Finish Line” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 7 “All There is to Say (Chinese Version)” he perfect finale statement for a CD like this.
 

All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. Some songs painfully push the 6 minute barrier, I wish there were more solo segments throughout the CD. I don’t care how the vocals sit within the mix as they are extremely dry and pushed back. For this style of music they need to be the focal point - thus making an intimate connection with the listener. I also discovered a few micro timing errors within some songs. The mix – though adequate not to the level of pro-caliber music within the genera. CD lacks thick low end frequency and crystal clear high end clarity. CD is a bit short with just 7 songs, perhaps 4-5 more tracks are needed to make this a fully loaded release. Turk’s voice is adequate but he needs to showcase more vocal risk taking and emotion especially during the finale moments of his music. Turk also needs to bring to the table a few more high pitch melodies and vocal phrasing mixing up his baritone delivery a bit better.   


From start to finish, "You and I are Brave” by Phil Turn Band is an impressive collection of music. The songwriting is very passionate – full of consistent musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. The lyrical content is packed to the hilt with priceless wisdom and a very appealing blue collar Folk filled atmosphere. 

 

Cyrus Rhodes