Having now been a critically acclaimed solo act for longer than he was a member of the critically acclaimed, post-hardcore outfit Million Dead, folk troubadour Frank Turner keeps plugging along and pouring his heart out whenever he’s got a microphone and a guitar in his hands. On his latest, Rock and Roll EP, Turner doesn’t necessarily play the according-to-Hoyle titular genre, but his passion for it shines through on these five meta-narrative love letters to music. Sounding as righteous as Billy Bragg and as bighearted as the Waterboys’ Mike Scott, Turner vocalizes every music lover’s deepest hope on the stunning “I Still Believe”, singing “Who’d have thought, that after all, something as simple as rock and roll would save us all?” Meanwhile, “Pass It Along” explains what fuels a singer/songwriter, and includes an open letter to Bob Dylan, natch. If you care passionately about music, you need to hear these songs. Meanwhile, the back half of the album doesn’t quite scale the heights of the first two tracks, but Turner rounds out the RNR-themed set with a quiet love song, “Rock and Roll Romance”; a carousing song, “To Absent Friend” and a drinking song, “Next Round On Me”, where he fears, “What if sober isn’t any better?”. In Turner’s capable hands, rock and roll is what you make of it.
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