About the album
Turning Point is an apt title for Terrell Bowers’ soulful debut album. At its most simplistic, Turning Point acknowledges the darkness in life while it shines on the color.
The earthy jamming rock runs deep with veins of blues, country, and funk. The stories strike a delicate balance of being light-hearted, serious, and uplifting at the same time.
Turning Point was recorded and produced in the spirit of 1970’s and ‘80’s concept albums, such as Jethro Tull’s Aqualung, The Who’s Tommy, Pink Floyd’s The Wall, and even modern concept albums such as Green Day’s American Idiot.
Eleven different musicians played on the album, giving it a depth and variety that cannot be accomplished otherwise. It was recorded and mixed using top-notch vintage microphones and outboard gear juxtaposed with modern digital recording technology. The end result is a lush and complex stereo sound with plenty of air around the instruments, befitting of old-school vinyl records. And it’s meant to be turned up loud!
And now a word from TB
You might say, “That’s all well and good, TB. But is it any good?” The answer to that question, if I may be so bold, is “Hell, yeah – it sounds great!” If Rudyard Kipling were alive, he might ask, "But is it art?” If Ricky Bobby was a real person, he would undoubtedly declare, “Turning Point will win the Academy Award for the best album ever made.” But there’s only one way for you to find out. You’ll have to give it a listen.
It is best listened to from start-to-finish on a big home stereo, in the car or through earbuds. For the commuting crowd: Crank it up on your next road trip or train ride. For the active crowd: Plug in for a long walk, run or spin. For the older crowd who can still remember sneaking into the basement before listening to records: This is a good album for that kind of old-school mischief.
Midway through the recording process, Stewart Myers suggested we experiment with adding some pedal steel guitar for both a country flavor and for some ambient background sounds. He told me about a pedal steel guitar player named Daniel Lanois. I ordered several of his CDs from Amazon and listened to them while driving up and down I-95. On one track from the album Here Is What Is, Lanois interviewed the renowned music producer and musician Brian Eno (Eno produced U2 and Talking Heads, among others). Eno stated something very powerful, and I believe Turning Point is testimony to Eno’s concept:
“What would be really interesting to see… is how beautiful things grow out of shit. Because nobody ever believes that. Everybody thinks that Beethoven had his string quartets completely in his head—they’d somehow appeared there and formed in his head, and all he had to do was write them down and they would kind of be manifest to the world. But I think what’s so interesting, and what would really be a lesson that everybody should learn is that things come out of nothing, things evolve out of nothing.
You know, the tiniest seed in the right situation turns into the most beautiful forest, and then the most promising seed in the wrong situation turns into nothing. And I think this would be important for people to understand, because it gives people confidence in their own lives to know that that’s how things work.
If you walk around with the idea that there are some people who are so gifted—they have these wonderful things in their head, but you’re not one of them, you’re just sort of a normal person, you could never do anything like that—then you live a different kind of life. But you could have another kind of life, where you can say, ‘Well, I know that things come from nothing very much, and start from unpromising beginnings, and I’m an unpromising beginning, and I could start something.’”
Turning Point is testimony to Eno’s philosophy in two ways. First, the songs began as small seeds; nurtured by time and fertilized with creative input from various musicians, these songs evolved into a forest greater than the sum of its trees. Secondly, it grew out of s***, or rather, some of the s*** that I experienced over the past five or so years. I took that s*** and tried to turn it into something positive.
The last five years have been some of the most challenging our country has ever faced. We have endured the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The DOW Jones Industrial Average lost half of its value. Millions of people lost their jobs. The worst credit crisis in recent history challenged almost every business, and thus their employees. We fought two major wars. Over two million veterans served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Twelve percent to 27 percent returned with alcohol and/or drug problems. The financial cost of two wars has been staggering (one-trillion up to three-trillion dollars, depending on who you ask). In addition, entitlements are at unprecedented and bottomless quantities. The financial stability of our country has never been more precarious due to massive federal debt, and it seems as if America is a freight train headed towards the same calamity experienced by Europe.
Fortunately, our elected government leaders have it all under control. I know, right? Maybe it’s always been this way, but right now our politicians couldn’t agree on what time it is. (Perhaps due to differing definitions of the word “is.”) In addition, government scandals have been at record highs (at least those getting caught). Government has never been so aggressive with intrusion into privacy and taking private property rights. Hypocrisy and mendacity are at epic levels and approval ratings have never been lower.
Whatcha gonna do?!
This chaotic malaise affected different people in different ways. How did it affect you, and how did you handle it? These songs are artifacts of some of my experiences. One of the cool things about music is that the lyrics can describe the experience while the music communicates the emotion of that experience. If you endured some challenging moments through the financial crisis, you might connect with one or more of these songs.
The creative process typically started with the music. I would get a melody or riff going in my head, and then some words would follow, and then I would work at it and craft it into something cohesive. Or I might be noodling on the guitar and something would catch my attention. (“Hey, that sounds cool.”) Then I would add some structure (verses, chorus, bridge), and then the words would come. I don’t understand the “how” of how the muse works, but for me, that’s just the beginning. It takes me a lot of work to get from there to here.
The truly gratifying part happened when I took these “seeds” (to use Eno’s word) into the studio and presented them to a group of complete strangers. These guys and gals were so professional, so talented and so kind and friendly and generous. Everybody’s focus was on the song and what would make the song better. There was absolutely no negative energy.
Once there was light at the end of the tunnel of the recording process, the question was, “Now what? What do I do with these songs?” The songs were written and recorded in the heat of battle, so to speak. It was a very personal expedition. It was not a contractual fulfillment for a record deal. One obvious answer is, don’t do anything—just keep the songs to myself.
Another obvious answer is to release a CD, set up a website, get a Justin Bieber haircut, hire a PR firm, sell a bunch of copies. Chicks. Money. Fame and fortune. A ferris wheel in the backyard and a jet with my initials in the driveway.
But the odds of all that good stuff happening are zero. So you may ask, “TB, why rip open your heart for the world to see? Why subject yourself to criticism and even ridicule?” Part of the answer can be explained with another question. Why stand on a bar table playing a lead guitar solo when there are only eight people in the audience? And the answer is quite simply, it’s a dream I’ve always had.
The other part of the answer is that I want to go back in the studio and do another blues and country flavored record. But before I can do that, I must first generate some cash with this project. So, I gots to sell me some records, baby!
I did not want anybody to not download the album because of the price, so I decided to offer a good deal. Well, it’s actually more than a good deal. There are plenty of good deals out there. Good deals are a dime a dozen. I wanted my deal to be at least two notches above a “good deal.” After extensive scientific marketing research, I arrived at a concept that is possibly a whole new paradigm in retail marketing.
The Super Duper Double Down Dollar Doozy DealGo ahead. Say it out loud, and say it with some gusto: The Super Duper Double Down Dollar Doozy Deal! Keep saying it until it puts a smile on your face.
The price? $1 for the entire album. That’s right, one buck for over an hour of music. That’s less than an order of McDonald's french fries or a Nathan's hot dog. It’s less than a bottle of water. To quote a used car dealer I heard on a Waynesboro Virginia radio station, “You can’t beat that with a beef stick!” To quote a Texas used car salesman, “I must be crazy to sell at these prices!”
There are few things more satisfying than being the first at doing something, and I know some of you will click the Super Duper Double Down Dollar Doozy Deal button just so you can be the first of your friends to get a Super Duper Double Down Dollar Doozy Deal, and I don’t blame you. So you go right ahead and scratch that itch right now and click it 'til you're satisfied.
But some of you may want to take a test drive before you spend all that money in one place, and I encourage you to do that too. The songs button will take you a list of all the songs and a brief discussion of each. You can click onto each song for a full listen while you read the lyrics - you can even listen to just the guitar solo if you want to play air guitar with a broom instead of sweeping the kitchen. You can also get a free song download right now. And if you're not creeped out by giving your email address to strangers, sign up on the email list below, and I’ll keep you posted on the upcoming blues/country album.
But whatever you do, don’t forget to click that handy-dandy Click Here button. You’ll be glad you did, because the Super Duper Double Down Dollar Doozy Deal is an introductory price, and it won’t last forever.
Enjoy Howie Green’s fabulous art, enjoy the music, and thanks for listening.
Keep On Smiling, and Keep On Keepin’ On!