17 Sep 2019
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Brendan and Alison Turner - Album Review: Ghost of a Friend

01 Mar 2019 // A review by Jacquie Walters

Ghost of a Friend is an aptly-named exploration of deep grief from soulful Americana duo Brendan and Alison Turner. The couple first met only six years ago and have had a tumultuous time since - falling in love, marrying, performing and touring together and then tragically losing their best man and musical collaborator.

The Turners' soon-to-be-released album is born from that intensity, of both newfound musical and life partnership, and the devastation of sudden loss.

It's an intimate and delicate offering with a bedrock of vocal unity. The Turners' voices are exquisitely well suited to each other. The musical accompaniment, while simple and understated, is the perfect foil for the true gem at the heart of the duo's music - their evocative and poignant lyrics.

From the reference to "burning whiskey and tramadol" of the opening track Dirt in the Blood to "the twilight falls like a drunk" simile in Far Too Long, the words on this album have a grit, a poetry, and a resonance that sets them apart.

Perhaps it's because he's touring here at the moment, but I was reminded of John Prine at times, especially during the track Picture from the Frame. The title track Ghost of a Friend was the absolute stand out for me. "Ghost of a friend is a loaded gun" absolutely expresses just how grief can feel - ready to hit you between the eyes at any given moment with a power that can fell you where you stand.

"The saddest birds sing the sweetest songs" sings Alison in Far Too Long and that is indeed true of the Turners on this album. There's a beauty and tenderness here coupled with an emotional and musical integrity that make this album deeply meaningful rather than maudlin.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

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