Author: Pierce Turner

Delighted to hear that my new album Love Can't Always Be articulate is on the BBC 6 Playlist. Also The Movie I scored recently Emerald City will be shown in NY this March 24th (sold out) and is starting do the round of Festivals. * “Pierce Turner has created what I confidently believe to be the finest body of work in contemporary Irish music bar none” Liam Fay Sunday Times * John Peel BBC “His song Wicklow Hills is one of my top ten singles of all time” In 2014 Pierce took part in a Christmas special “First Songs of the Season” at The Swedish Lutheran Church over on 22nd Street in Gramercy. The 250 capacity Church with perfect acoustics struck him immediately as a home for music. It had a Baldwin Grand Piano in the Loft with a pipe organ and harpsichord. The acoustics were perfect, almost like an opera house, not too lively, but lively enough. The loft was nearby, not too high away, and the horseshoe design of this hidden treasure brought everyone close together. It turned out that his intuition was bang on, the Church had been designed by the J.C Caddy the man who designed the original Metropolitan Opera House in Manhattan, 150 years ago. Pierce immediately knew that this was where he should record his next album. This would be the sound that would inspire the direction and choice of material. This Church would give him the bigness that is hard to achieve these days in small digital studios. “Love Can’t Always Be Articulate”is high fidelity that harks back to the sound of the big recording Studios in the 60's & 70's-such as Dark Side Of The Moon, Sgt Pepper or Astral Weeks or current Bands like Arcade Fire or The National. It begins with the pipe organ being turned on and then launches into the latin Hymn "Tantum Ergo" with Pierce's mystical vocal set in a cool shuffle tempo created by bass drum hi hat, bongos, tambourine and hand claps and the celestial organ, it has a fruitiness and ecclesiastical quality all at once-when the melody is picked up by Steven Bernstein on trumpet accompanied with strident acoustic guitar it takes on a mind and soul lifting euphoria not unlike an understated version of the effect created with the female scat singing by Clare Torry on Dark Side Of The Moon. This is a connoisseur’s listening album with the kind of depth that comes from an artist that takes his time separating the weeds from the flowers. * The Penguin Book Rough Guide to Irish Music says; “There is no one in the whole wide world of music quite like Pierce Turner; a unique visionary, the owner of a voice that drips emotion, a consummate lyricist and the creator of tunes which are both complex and accessible. *Award winning Irish Musician Pierce Turner *Also lives in Manhattan * His last album “Songs For a Verry Small Orchestra” features a duet with Philip Glass whom he also performed in Carnegie Hall with in 2011 * Formerly solo Performer of the Year in Ireland * Irish folk superstar Christy Moore has recorded his songs and went so far as to write a dedication to him “I love the way Pierce Turner Sings” on his box set with Warner Brothers Records Selected reviews: *“He has created what I confidently believe to be the finest body of work in contemporary Irish music bar none” Liam Fay Sunday Times *”Soaring Classical melodies with a sense of freedom and joy” Rolling Stone magazine USA *“Clambering across the tables, little shimmies and screams of adoration, Turner breaks down the barrier between audience and performer and really gives himself in a way that makes him naked” Irish Times *“ A poet amongst songwriters’” Elle Magazine USA *Inventive songwriter Pierce Turner is one of the cities great Gems. He fields requests, recounts amusing anecdotes and Encourages group singalongs” New York Magazine * “Easily one of Ireland’s most important rock artists of the last twenty years” The Irish Times * “Quirky lyrical images and a whimsicality one usually associates with Ray Davies” Stephen Holden The New York Times with Patty Smith, Iggy Pop and Rehina Spektor-His duet with Philip Glass received these notices Rolling Stone review of Tibet house benefit 2010 @ Carnegie Hall "Early in the night, composer Phillip Glass introduced Irish singer Pierce Turner, who sat at the grand piano and performed the soaring, Bowie-reminiscent “Yogi with a Broken Heart.” NY Times review of the same event "A piano playing Irish songwriter with tinges of opera and Joni Mitchell sang his “Yogi with a Broken Heart” joined by Mr. Philip Glass on keyboard." Recently an Irish newspaper (the Wexford Echo) made the observation that Pierce Turner just may have reached that time in an artist’s life that only comes from the passage of time! Like a younger Leonard Cohen, he seems to have travelled around the world without any great plan for world domination. As he travelled along he got better and better, but rarely stopped to look behind and take stock. However the places and people he passed along the way have not forgotten, just like Mr. Cohen, and now he belongs to society in a way that no commercial endeavor can achieve! Rough Guide to Irish Music U.K. The Penguin Book Rough Guide to Irish Music says about Pierce Turner There is no one in the whole wide world of music quite like Pierce Turner; a unique visionary, the owner of a voice that drips emotion, a consummate lyricist and the creator of tunes which are both complex and accessible. Born and raised in Wexford town, Pierce’s musical journey began as a boy soprano in his school choir and regularly sang in the local festival, an experience he describes as “Like living in a Catholic version of Pet Sounds” (The Beach Boys classic album). Plainsong was a formative influence, but the young Turner was developing his love of song through Emmetspiceland and Tir Na Nog, while never losing his affection for the tunes of Carolan and the work of Sean O’Riada. He was also learning the clarinet and piano and listening to The Beatles, Dylan and Pink Floyd. Spells in various beat groups, and folk rock groups ensued before he and long time friend, (and future Black 47 singer/guitarist) Larry Kirwan set off for New York “Just to escape the restrictions of Ireland and my own self-inflicted restrictions.” They had a minor radio hit as a duo before forming a new wave band, The Major Thinkers and nearly made it with a song called “Avenue B is the place to be”. Tiring of the scene, Pierce began composing instrumentals for modern dance and became friends with avant-garde composer Philip Glass. They headed for London and secured a record deal resulting in the album “It’s Only a long way across” (1986), co-produced by Philip Glass, which included the classic “Wicklow Hills” (covered by Christy Moore) and Turner’s droll account of Wexford gossip, “Musha God help her”. Pierce next began collaborating with trombonist, Fred Parcells (later to join Black 47), resulting in a new depth to his sound, some astonishing live performances and 1989’s stunning The Sky and the Ground. Even this, however, was surpassed by Now is Heaven, an album ridiculously overlooked by both critics and punters, and containing Turner’s best-ever song, “All Messed Up”, an exploration of personal confusion which draws on the flute of Seamus Egan to enhance the melody’s traditional roots. Since then Pierce has released four further albums, 1996’s live Manana in Manhattan the following year’s superb Angelic Language, 2001’s Three Minute World which was voted “One of the hundred greatest Irish albums of all time “ and 2004’s The Boy to be with” to great critical acclaim in the Irish Times. Record companies and record stores have problems categorizing Pierce (one Irish shop currently stocks his releases in the Sean-Nos section!), but the man’s talent is unstoppable and deserves a far wider audience. Fortunately, he continues to write and play (the EP Action appeared in 1999), and the high points of his career have been collected on the comprehensive The Compilation (1998 Beggars Banquet). Just buy, listen and marvel. Geoff Wallis For more information check out Pierce Turner’s website www.pierceturner.com

We were in the kitchen having breakfast on a Saturday morning.  The night before I had been out painting the town, ending up in Whites Barn dancing to Jack and the Jackpots, with the interior of my mouth coated in grease from the Chicken and Chips that came with the ticket.  It was a way around the […]

Flew and got the Flu

I’m definitely wearing one of them bloody masks the next time I get on an airplane; I don’t care how stupid I look. I mean every time I get on a plane I catch something. Going over to Ireland, I caught a cold off the baby sitting next to me, and coming back I caught […]

Christmas parking

Friday, December 28th: Green Acres, WexfordSunday, March 10th: The Saint, Asbury Park, NJSunday, March 17th: Joe’s Pub, New York, NY I’m going around here, where am I going? Nowhere! I’m just looking for a place to stop, a place to park. It’s Christmas time in Wexford and the town is swamped with cars and dogs and buskers and […]

Time for love again

Look, after a year of hurting and sometimes blurting, I just want to say to all my friends, no matter which side you’re on, you’re my friend and I still love you, and no matter what, if you’re my friend you probably love music, so let music be our language in unison, eventually we will […]

The Wesht is Besht

I’m back from County Clare, it’s four and a quarter hours from there to here.  Bernard, who was hosting the gig in the old reformed school house in Maghera, warned me that there were several Maghera’s and that everyone gets lost looking for his place.  This information put me into a bit of a panic, […]

A Sock and A Shoe

I Have a friend who does a sock and a shoe, and a sock and a shoe. He was very annoyed when we all laughed at the idea, and I have to admit it’s a bit odd that we all thought it was so odd.  It’s such a minor thing, isnt it? Who cares how anybody […]

Brighton the sea gull city

Blown away in Brighton. I grew up by the sea, it lived across the road from us on the quay, upstairs in the sitting room with that blazing fire at my back, I often peeked past the curtains at its commotion.  From my bedroom on the third floor the seagulls announced the dawn with their […]

Astonished by the sun

Just got back from a couple of gigs in the West of Ireland.  Hit Cork City, then drove south west to Ballydehob, or as I call it, Ballydequityourjob!  ‘cos it seems like most people who live in this idyllic little haven have moved there with the wisdom of a Buddhist Monk.  I am sure that […]

Rather be a tree

  Yick, yick, yick, goes the Blackbird at the top of leafless Tree.  I wonder why it is leafless?  Clare say’s it’s dead. “Hmm, and yet it stands, way up high above all the living leaves, wonder why we don’t’ stand when we die?”   I start to imagine the possibility.  Where would we put […]

I haven’t the time to write this

Photo taken at The Saint Asbury Park on Sunday March 11th 2018 (c) Kathleen Connally I haven’t got the time to write this really. I’m rushing out to have breakfast with my friend Una Johnson, who is dropping off in New York for a few days on her way back to Ireland. It’s snowing like […]

Manhattan in the 80’s. Pierce Turner blog

The front of my building. Manhattan in the 80’s                                               Pierce Turner © 2018     Philip buzzed me in. Buzzers were a luxury then. Some of us had them, but they seldom worked. Most of us kept our keys in a thick, knotted sock. Outsiders would shout up at the window, and we would pitch the […]

January is a useless month

January is a useless month, steeped in disease and misery. It’s a terrible month to start the year with. We should shift it and start with a different month. Maybe July? That’s a pretty good month to start the year with. Just imagine, you have a New Years Eve Party knowing that the next day, […]

Life on Mars, January 16th-Dublin

Before I start-something urgent needs to be brought to your attention if you are in Ireland-On January 16th I will be at the National Concert Hall (JFR Room) what else could have to do on a Tuesday night? I want to see all the sausages there, or what is the point? book here https://www.nch.ie/Online/seatSelect.asp Life On […]

Back in Ireland

  With Cillian Vallely and Fred Parcells at the 11th Street Bar last month in the East Village. Got the fire going, the shed is falling down, but there was half a bag of coal in there, went out there in the dark last night with the flashlight, the moon was at a quarter and […]

New Yawk New Yawk

The National Concert Hall 2015- back to that beautiful chandelier room with the incredible Steinway Piano on January 16th, 2018-ideal Christmas present, to wipe away the January blues-for you’s. Tickets on sale now at the NCH. It’s a crazy morning in New York, I can feel the vibes in the air already. Walking in to […]

Pass the hat….NOT-back in New York

The first time that I came across a venue that didn’t pay its artists, was Sine over on St Marks Place. Shane, the owner, was an expert at socializing, at spreading his charisma. I had enough of a following to demand payment for a gig. But Shane had been building a name by getting all […]

Yesterday I took the C train up to W96th Street

Pierce Turner Ensemble at Legends On Sunday April 23rd 5pm-at 6 W33rd St bet 6th and 7th Avenue. “Yesterday I took the C train up to West 96th Street” Pierce Turner (c)2017 As apathy and other forms of distraction take a hold on the majority of my already meagre size audience, I wonder if am […]

The Permist

  THE PERMIST   © Pierce Turner 2017   I remember when there was a hairdresser in my hometown of Wexford called Tony Myler, who gave gorgeous perms, he was known far and wide to be a terrific Permist. And he had an assistant called Kate whom he had taught his technique to, and Kate was […]

2 Commercial Quay (Sputnik)

Tried to find an old photo from the shop, all I could find was this one which had been superimposed on the shot for Love Can’t Always be articulate-shop was cut out!  but this was taken at that time. The lazy Saturday morning was split into pieces, by the rude screech of a breaking car […]

Flying back in the snow

Flying back in the snow!   We were flying over JFK in the snow, Dublin had been a hairy experience, sitting at the departure lounge with regular ding dongs and muffled PA announcements. “Flight mmmmm to New York is cancelled” “Which one did they say?” Clare, looking as worried as everyone else. “Fuck knows” The […]

“Steven’s Preparing To leave” PT 2

                      My Father is the last one on the right, front row “Steven’s Preparing To Leave” Part 2 (Tom in the morning) © Pierce Turner 2017   The seagulls began the new day with their usual tiffing over slop from the Dutch coal boats , […]

Steven’s Preparing To leave

Steven’s Preparing To Leave” (Had to cut this into 2 parts) Part 1   Why beat around the bush, when you can go right through it? Of course if you go around it, there would be less damage to it, and if you go through it you get to the other side quicker. My father […]

A Day without speaking

                              I always wanted a toilet in the kitchen Six days before my gig in Glasgow last week I came to the realisation that my voice was not ticketyboo (English term for not right) I had gotten through the Christmas bronchitis […]

Fergus’s Tractor and the Christmas Geese

Come to Glasgow’s Celtic Connection Festival on Jan 20th – first time I’ve played there in years. http://www.celticconnections.com/events/Pages/event.aspx?ev=d19ab5be-59e5-4789-90f7-a6a601314b39 Seamus Ennis Centre Naul, Fingle Co Dublin Sat Dec 4th last Gig this tour.   Fergus’s Tractor and the Christmas Geese. It was Christmas 1988, I had flown from New York to London to do a photo […]

Keep your TV in the closet

I confess to have slipped of late, slipped into a kind of slothery called TV. It all began in earnest about six weeks ago with a suspicious sneeze. I began to analyze its source; did a mere dust mote travel to my sinuses? Or had I finally succumbed to the cold that Clare had harbored […]

That Petrol Emotion

The mood was jubilant driving away from Coughlans of Cork on Thursday night. The gig had been sold out and extra stools had to be employed to make use of every nook and cranny, getting on stage was even a maneuver, getting off was even harder. The atmosphere was magic and I could’ve sung any […]

Christmas In Ireland

Christmas In Ireland “What do you fancy for dinner?” “I dunno” I was hunched over the piano warming down my voice after rehearsing with Paula Cox and Mick Egan, a bit miserable I was; nursing the latter half of a stinking cold. Clare was half way out the door, and was fed up making decisions […]

I’m on temperature control

I’m on Temperature Control It’s Tuesday morning; late with the Monday morning milk, again! Last night we went to a fancy pizza place with our friends Paul and Niamh who were visiting from Dublin.  I knew we were in trouble right away because the double doors were wide open at the entrance, I knew it […]

The Mender

This story The Mender  is intended for my book whenever it comes to be.  I posted it on Facebook once and found out that a lot of my friends were equipment menders themselves. I had ended with some kind of negative comment about the character in the shop.  Many people stood up for him, and […]

I’m gonna miss Bernard

Bernard possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of Opera The first time I became aware of Bernard was at the Wexford Railway station one early January when I was seeing a New York friend off, heading to America via London.  It was a hectic scene, with lots of bags, heavy overcoats, babies crying and sad goodbye-ing. My […]

My Father was a Fire Man

  (Please let me know that you are out there, make a short comment, it can get lonely otherwise. And thanks for an amazing gig at Joe’s Pub). My oldest sister Delores gave me this photo of the Wexford Fire Brigade for my birthday, it’s an unusual one that I had never seen before, my […]

New York New York sizzzzle

Thursday morning 11:07 it’s 85 degrees and 90% humidity, not sure if we should open the windows or keep them closed.  We’ve had the AC on all night in the back of the house where the bedroom is, and it’s nice and cool, but we don’t want to live in AC all day with the […]

Don’t worry, I know you’re busy, I’ll play for the Japanese tourists

Joe’s Pub Thursday July 21st at 7pm The Pierce Turner Ensemble http://publictheater.org/Tickets/Calendar/PlayDetailsCollection/Joes-Pub/2016/P/Pierce-Turner-Ensemble/ It’s Monday July 4th, it hasn’t been an easy week up till now. The previous Sunday June 26th was a wondrous day at the Sheen Theatre on Bleeker Street in the Village. The author Joseph O’Connor had invited us to perform at the Angela’s […]

Tears come easily at airports and conversation

I am back in NYC getting ready for the Frank McCourt 20th Anniversary show this Sunday at the Sheen Centre in Manhattan (sold out) it’s a new Theatre on Bleeker Street.   Having just spent a lot of time waiting in airports, I found myself noticing the effect of it and wondering if there is […]

Drowning in a Pool of Monday’s Rain

The weather man on Channel 2 is a red haired fella with black horn-rimmed glasses. He’s a dapper little fella and always makes a crack pertaining to the previous news announcement from the charming presenters on the morning show. He is introduced with such regularity; it would be impossible for him to not be annoying. […]

Madama Butterfly

The flu came on Friday afternoon, my sister Bernie and her son Gareth arrived in New York on Sunday afternoon. We planned to prepare a nice Sunday roast for them as a New York welcoming. But I was a pale version of myself that day, the shivering had ceased, and the muscle pains, but I […]

Forty dollar cup of coffee

The house is creaking like an old ship; I hear a woman’s voice that I don’t recognize in the apartment up above, she is talking to a higher-pitched male voice than the usual tenant who lives there. Could it be Airbnb or just visitors from out of town? It’s definitely someone who is experiencing new […]

Last Night I Had a Dream

Last night I had a dream. I had a dream last night that I wrote the perfect hit song. I was able to look at it objectively and decide that it had all the necessary content to be a hit. It had a catchy melody, but not obvious, it twisted slightly just when you thought […]

Either be there or you’re a putz!

I may be digressing, or maybe this is progression. One time I played five times a week, and had a team of roadies to set up my gear, all I had to do was get in and out of the bus. They even strung my guitar. And all the rehearsal and preparation was to perform […]

Give the dog a trombone

We started minding dogs through a website that offers boarding jobs for animals. At first we did it for the extra dosh, but right away we realized that it would be good for us as an animal fix too. But nine times out of ten when a dog is offered to us, we are unable […]

To Kiss a Man

We went to our favourite restaurant in the village the other night. Our friend Chris came down from Westchester for his birthday and we went together to Pylos over on 7th Street to celebrate it. Pylos serves gourmet Greek food, the kind of Mediterranean food that they say makes you live longer. It’s the kind […]

Henry and Delores Part 3

That evening I told Clare about what happened, and she was sympathetic, seeing that I was plainly upset. She had no answer however, and was just as confused as me, and surprised. I found myself searching through our recent encounters, looking for instances when I might have accidently blanked him during a walking daydream, or […]

Storm Story

Today New York has been hushed by a blanket of virgin snow – this beehive city is slowed to the gait of a polar bear – and we are forced to make our hyper bodies halt beneath a blanket and just wait it out. Not sure why I need to write this blog,  am I […]

Bowie sing song in New York

David Bowie in Union Square

There was a sing song of Bowie’s songs in Union Square on Friday night – a young attractive crowd seemed to know every word. David Bowie is dead, and New York is reeling. Bowie’s effect on the city was similar to that of the writer-performer Quentin Crisp – another transported Englishman of note – but […]

1916 Down Rising..and then Up

1916 Down rising, and then up Rise (photo of Pier A that night) The black waves are crashing against the jetty, far off and silent. I’m reminded of my childhood when we lived on the quay opposite the New Bridge in Wexford. Ferocious nights when the wind spat the wooden works up like matchsticks, and […]

Who?

Outside my window down below on First Avenue – the buses squeal to a halt, the cars whoosh past, children scream, sirens Nee-Naw on the way to Beth Israel Hospital just up the road, a lot of noise! Noise that mostly goes unnoticed. Then in the middle of it I heard a guy say loudly […]

Christmas is Here

I still miss Santa Christmas is here! It’s not coming … it’s here. I have felt it, but still wasn’t aware of its approach. On Thanksgiving we went to my wife Clare’s cousin in Philadelphia, and while we stood in line in the overland train station, we were subject to a long litany of mournful, […]

Red Grooms painting

Are You a Success?

Is being the best all there is? And if so, being the best at what? Being the best at winning whatever game it is that you play? Or being the best at living? If you are Novak Djokovic and you are the best at tennis, you will be rewarded with trophies, worldwide recognition of your […]

Brooklyn

                  “So have you seen that movie yet?” “Which one?” “The one with all the terrific Irish brogues in it, Brooklyn” “No, but I’m planning to go, some of it was shot in my home town, I’ve seen the ads and they show a scene with the […]

Quentin Crisp

It was a common enough occurrence to see the artist Quentin Crisp strolling along the street in the East Village. You knew with absolute certainty that he would say hello to you, even though he didn’t know you from a hole in the wall. It was easy to spot him way off ahead even with […]

A Thousand Percent

The readout on the colourful dashboard read 110 rpm and I had the level up to 12 where it usually is. I was cycling at what seemed to be full pelt and took a moment to observe my own sincerity. Then, looking over at my neighbour’s bike to see what he was doing, his rpm […]

Positively 11th Street

This is a crazy city, every year it just gets crazier. In the 80s it was crazy dirty, drugs everywhere, lawlessness like the wild west. I remember wincing in the back of a taxi, stopped at the light on the corner of 12th and 1st Ave, there was a small popping sound that projected a […]