Described as "music your soul might sing on a late-night train trip," Art Turner's unique brand of percussive, hauntingly emotive "aboriginoceltic fingerstyle worldfolk" is evocative, articulate, and delivered with unmistakable passion. A virtual unknown back in 2001, Turner burst onto the scene by winning an unprecedented string of Formal Showcase selections from the North American Folk Alliance, Ontario Council of Folk Festivals, and the Ontario Arts Council, all in the same year. The following year he was honoured with a spot on Six Strings North of the Border Volume 2, a collection of Canada's finest acoustic guitarists that includes tunes by Bruce Cockburn, Colin Linden, and Don Ross. After only three years of performing, he's already a veteran of some of North America's most important festivals and concert series -- an impressive achievement for someone who picked up the guitar at the unlikely age of 31. While Art makes use of an array of harmonic tapping, slapping, scratching, and neck-bending mojo, and can hold his own sharing workshop and concert stages with guitar giants like Kelly Joe Phelps, Tim Sparks, Michael Manring and Martin Tielli, his music has always been more about emotive energy than blazing chops and blistering speed. As Six Strings 2 producer Bill Garrett puts it, "There's no question that Art paints an aural landscape that lets the listener go far beyond their living room loudspeakers and on to other places. He is a formidable artist with a wide palette."
A former expert-class motocross racer and professional photographer of some national renown, Art took a hard left turn ten years ago when he (quite literally) traded his Hasselblad for a handmade acoustic guitar, and never looked back. Less than three years later, he attracted some of the most sought-after musicians in the world (Bruce Cockburn fiddler Hugh Marsh, Grammy-winning cellist Eugene Friesen, and bass demigod Michael Manring among them) to join him on his debut recording. Seven years and three critically-acclaimed albums later, his music has been heard around the globe on Air Canada's In-Flight Play Program, on a number of popular NPR shows south of the 49th parallel, and quite frequently on CBC Radio Canada programs like This Morning, Richardson's Roundup, As it Happens, and Disc Drive, where all of his albums have made Jurgen Gothe's Hit List of Best Albums of the Year. "Here is the high art of the solo guitar," says Gothe of Turner's third and most recent CD, Jade (2003). "Big, bold, atmospheric; percussive, lyrical, full-frontal, tranquil; meditative, incendiary... In the heart and hands of Art Turner, we hear the hegemony of Hedges, the fleet fingerwork of Fahey, the blaze of Basho, and lyricism of Lang... And underneath it all, never very far from the surface, the sure-handed skills of one hell of a steel-string picker."
Art Turner lives in Winnipeg's infamous Granola Belt with his wife Lyn and a varying number of cats, guitars, and canoes.