Steve Turner 

Searching for Melody

Here are a few factoids about Mudhoney's bespectacled guitar man that even you, the geek-ass indie rock enthusiast, may not already know. First, he's pushing forty. Second, he skates old-school boards inside empty backyard swimming pools, not unlike some of the older Z-boys from So-Cal's Dogtown. Finally, Steve Turner is a fucking hippie. He's not out on Telegraph juggling a stick between two other sticks or anything, but Searching for Melody is an organic-sounding fourteen-song solo album of mostly acoustic folk songs that draw inspiration from Townes Van Zandt, Bob Dylan, Lightnin' Hopkins, the Clancy Brothers, and Phil Ochs. Oh, and he also recently admitted that he loves Joan Baez.

Recorded with Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard, Melody sounds absolutely nothing like anything resembling grunge. That said, Turner's electric-tinged acoustic musings are mostly dipsomaniac anthems that would sit well in New York City's anti-hoot scene. Still, having grown up on punk, many of Turner's song arrangements do retain some of that herky-jerky angularity often associated with shitty electric guitars, decaying Fender amps, and empty cans of Budweiser littering the practice-space floor. He hardly tries to come off as the kind of people's political minstrel that you might catch opening for Peter Rowan at the Freight & Salvage to an aging audience peppered with Berkeley berets. Songs such as the triumphant title track deliver acoustic blues-styled guitar work with an aggressive foot-stomping rhythm and confessional lyrics most of us tune-junkies can relate to, whether we play music or just listen to it for hidden answers and healing purposes like everyone else. "I know what I am," Steve sings. "I'm a dirt-bag on the scam/Searching for a melody." Hippie.

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