Pierce Turner back on home turf for highly anticipated gig

By Esther Hayden

Pierce Turner
Pierce Turner
The World Premiere of The Gathering Mass composed by Pierce Turner at Mass on Sunday morning with solsists Roisin Dempsey and Pierce Turner with the Bride Street Church Choir and Ger Lawlor Choirmaster and Organist. with the Mayor Cllr Jim Allan

Wexford singer songwriter Pierce Turner will make a rare homecoming performance at Wexford Arts Centre on June 5 at 8.30pm.

Pierce Turner has a penchant for the unexpected and the unorthodox, re-writing the rules for all three endeavours. Sometimes he performs from behind his trusty keyboard backed by a solo instrument (sax, maybe, or violin or trombone!). Or he can be out front-of-house clambering over tables and ordering drinks from the bar. In the middle of a song!

His albums to are equally mercurial, showing influences ranging from his Catholic Irish upbringing to the decadence of Lou Reed's New York, merging the upfront rock of The Byrds, The Beach Boys and The Who to deft touches of Irish trad, folk, jazz, techno, classical and choral harmonies.

Turner grew up in Wexford where his mother ran a record shop and led her own band. Like all his siblings he was classically trained, and his fondest early memories are of singing in the annual plainchant festival. By seven, he was a member of a traditional Irish tin whistle group, and at eight, he was playing in a brass and reed orchestra.

His first professional job was as a musician with the pop showband The Arrows. He later moved to New York and formed The Major Thinkers with fellow Wexfordian Larry Kirwan (now the front man of Black 47) and recorded several acclaimed albums.

His first solo album It's Only a Long Way Across was produced by American avant- composer, Phillip Glass. He went on to make two more albums for Beggars Banquet, The Sky and the Ground (an unforgettable carnival of highly-charged tunes, searing, soaring, poignant and funny.) In 1991 his epic Now Is Heaven was released to great critical acclaim, with Hot Press dubbing him 'Ireland's greatest living poet' and his awards cabinet taking possession of a trophy for Irish Solo Performer of the Year in the Hot Press Awards by a panel drawn from the national media.

Somewhere along the way, other gems from the Turner canon were featured in the film Snakes And Ladders, the HBO hit show The Wire with his extraordinary version of 'Dirty Old Town'and Christy Moore recorded Turner's songs 'Among The Wicklow Hills' and 'Mush God Help Her', Indeed Christy's 2004 box set includes his generous tribute to Turner on the track 'I Love The Way Pierce Turner Sings'.

Pierce was previously voted among the top 25 Irish songs ever by Today FM in a nationwide poll. This rare homecoming performance from New York, will surely bring the usual capacity crowd to Wexford Arts Centre and raise the rafters.

Bookings at www.wexfordartscentre.ie or 053 9123764. Tickets are €20/€18.

Wexford People

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