If nothing else, you really have to respect Eddie Turner's effort as a musician. His passion for making music shines through on every track on "Rise," (NorthernBlues Music) Turner's debut solo album. He also doesn't bother wasting a listener's time - every note is intentional. The result is an album displaying the one-time Otis Taylor contributor as a capable front man who can play the blues and never bore you.
Recently named Best Blues CD by Westword, "Rise" is blues all the way, but Turner's guitar-playing is distinctly his own, seeming to draw its influences from Jimi Hendrix, especially heard on his "The Wind Cries Mary," which Turner admirably executes. The electric guitar sounds so good, and powerful, you'd think it runs on Turner's energy alone, demonstrated on tracks like "Resurrection" and "Gangster of Love," two of the albums more rock-infused songs.
Turner's clean guitar-playing makes up for where he lacks as a vocalist. It's not that his vocals are bad, but that he injects a lot of soul and not a lot of power. That's why he sounds best on the album's bluesier tracks like "Play It Cool" and "Ask Myself Why," where he also proves himself best as a blues guitarist.
Turner's obvious gospel influences add a great depth and soul to the album, especially on "Sin," a spiritual that plays like a performance in the church of his mind. All the influences and styles - and lack thereof - add to the album's strength as a collection of songs created to save the performer's soul, and hopefully the listener's.