Singer-songwriter Jason Turner hopes that 13 is a lucky number after all.
Turner, 31 years old, is releasing his first studio-produced CD on Aug. 27 with a release-party at 9 p.m. at a Jackson, Miss., nightclub called Hal & Mal’s. The CD is named 13 years because that’s how long he has fought the long odds of becoming a professional musician since he took his first professional gig at the Jubilee Jam (a Jackson replica of JazzFest in New Orleans) at 18.
Night after night after night he has played local clubs in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and even a three-year stretch in Nashville where he played such places as the Bluebird Café where many singer-songwriters debuted, as well as opening for such notable artists as Robert Randolph, Violent Femmes, Josh Kelly, Tantric, Crossin Dixon, Blessed Union of Souls, and Crossfade. The road is a tiring, lonely endeavor, but from his own home studio he is always writing, always composing, always hoping. With hope a nightly companion, like so many, many in the business he has chosen, he continued to pursue the dream.
Still, that elusive contract has evaded him. He is currently without an agent, but he decided that that leap of faith that was needed to boost his stock higher would come from within rather than outside of his circle of helpers.
“There’s nothing in this world that makes me feel the way music does,” he said. “I believe that’s what I’m supposed to do. When I was about 11 years old and began playing guitar, I first felt that way. It hasn’t changed.”
The CD features 10 songs written and performed by Turner and his long-time bandmates, based upon “what I see in normal day-to-day living. That’s what I write about.”
“We used to come in for practice,” said Andy Burzinksi, a former bass player for the Jason Turner Band who was there when the music began being written in 1998,” and Jason would have three new songs. He has been doing this so long that it is second nature for him now. He writes such good catchy melodies and great words that it’s going to work.” Burzinksi moved to Nashville four years ago to try to work into the music business himself.
“When Jason moved to Nashville, we had always kind of been independents in the music business. But when he saw how it really worked, I think he kind of thought, ‘if this is how it is, I don’t want any part of it.’ So he kind of got the wind knocked out of him for a while. But he’s back and I expect this to be a success.”
The song “Too Old Now” hit Jackson radio waves on Aug. 1. It, typical to the CD, details what it feels grow up to find “nothing ever goes your way, but I’m too old now to stop dreaming my life away.” The CD is an eclectic mix of neo-country and rock and roll, with some pedal steel on some tracks.
But Turner’s deeply insular words are the fuel that powers the vehicle.
On another track, Turner writes of the death of his grandmother in “Haunt Me,” I took the clothes off the hanger on the day you said goodbye. Too much on my palette, I never got to deal with the way I felt inside. Haunt me, don’t go. “ as the lead guitar wails tearfully.
Featuring songs written over a decade and mastered professionally by Ken Bruce in Jackson, the album is a labor of love as much as a labor. The first run of the mix is 1,000 copies that Turner says will go quickly at $10 a CD.
“I just decided that I would start my own label,” Turner said. He said he has 32 songs written for his “next CD,” that he says will come out next year. “I might put out two albums next year,” he said. He said that a move back to Nashville might be in the works.
He is married with two small children, but it’s the night time when he is alive.
The dream lives on. “I won’t stop pursuing this,” Turner said. “I believe this is what I am.”