Music

Rebecca Turner Returns with 'The New Wrong Way' (premiere) (interview) (album stream)

Photo by Scott Anthony, Courtesy Howlin' Wuelf Media

New Jersey-based singer-songwriter Rebecca Turner fuses elements of her classic sound on The New Wrong Way, which brings together country and rock with loving tributes to two musical giants.

Rebecca Turner issued two albums a little more than a decade ago, Land of my Baby (2005) and Slowpokes (2009). Drawing on influences that range from Emmylou Harris to Liz Phair, the records demonstrated her ability to fuse sometimes seemingly disparate worlds and write songs that were frequently funny, sometimes heartbreaking, but always memorable.

When she began penning material for a third effort, something changed. The years went by with no new recorded output until Turner set a deadline: she'd release a new album in 2019.

The result is The New Wrong Way, filled with 13 songs that speak to her greatest strengths, whether the walloping garage country of "Living Rock", a loving portrait of singer Anita O' Day ("The Cat That Can Be Alone") and the raucous, celebratory "Cassandra." Meanwhile, "Circumstances" and "What If Music" find her leaning deeper into the country music world, albeit with subtle touches that never betray the album's overall vibe.

A remarkably cohesive set that is both contemplative and uplifting, The New Wrong Way is evidence that Turner remains as strong a writer as ever and maybe has even become a more accomplished one. The album arrives 6 November.

Joining Turner are her husband Scott Anthony (Fond Farewells, Nu-Sonics), Rich Feridun (Tammy Faye Starlite, Jimmy LaFave, Amelia White) and Sim Cain (Rollins Band, Chris Harford, Marc Ribot) plus longtime friend, harmony singer Sue Raffman. Tracked primarily at Turner and Anthony's Storybook Sound, with further material captured at the venerable Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee, where former Big Star drummer Jody Stephens is still employed.

Turner spoke with PopMatters about the road to The New Wrong Way.

Your last album came out in 2009. When did you know you wanted to make this one?

I could not go another a year. It needed to be within ten years. I was still writing and performing. When I was younger I wrote more songs and you have to write a lot of bad songs. In the last ten years I was writing less. That meant less bad songs and less good songs. I wrote more slowly. But I really wanted to make something that was album-length.

This album harkens back to a previous time. The music really breathes.

We wanted to do as many things as loosely as possible. I love my first records but I was younger and took more time with them. I would do lots of vocal takes. I think I've learned to sing better and so a lot of the songs are first takes.

You went to Ardent Studios.

My stepson goes to college in the South. We went to Memphis and wanted to visit Ardent. But you can't really show up. We said, "Well, it's possible we'll want to record there." We called and the person on the phone said, "It's possible Jody will be here to show you around."

We went there and it was so nice. We did three "The Cat That Can Be Alone", "Sun In My Morning, and "Tenderly". Vibe-y songs recorded in a vibe-y place.

Jody is such an interesting guy. We had an interview scheduled a while back and he called me direct to confirm it rather than having the publicist do that via email.

He's the nicest person and one of the first things you notice about him is that he has the most beautiful eyelashes! We had a great time down there.

Do you remember the first song you wrote for the album?

It was one I wrote in 2010, "Cassandra". It's about Miranda Lambert. I'm a huge, unabashed country music fan. I saw her early in her career and she blew me away.

Is country something you were brought up with?

I grew up in L.A. and was obsessed with the country sounds. I went from Linda Ronstadt to Emmylou Harris. Emmylou was where I fell for country. Country music radio today has gotten very bro-y. I wade through five man songs to get to a woman song.

Did you watch the Ken Burns documentary?

I haven't because I'm afraid that I'll see things that are missing and be disappointed.

It misses some things but he did touch on Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn. It was powerful to see what an impact they had.

That's why Dolly is back now and so popular all of a sudden, because she was always on the right side of things. She was always kind and forward-thinking.

You wrote about Anita O' Day and Miranda Lambert. Is that typical of you?

The first two records were young person solipsism. Partly because I was having trouble writing songs for this album, I thought maybe I'd look outside myself. Other writers seem to be able to do that.

What was your process for sequencing this album?

I'm not super into it. My husband/bassist/co-producer is really good at it. When I do live shows he and Sue do the setlists.

Left to my own devices, I'll put all the songs that sound alike together. There were some things about the record I wasn't sure about, like the second part of the record seems more country, less rock.

I loved going on that journey.

It works.

Now that this is done, how does it feel?

I'm proud of it. I'm a small part of it. All my friends who helped are a big part and this is probably the thing I'm proudest of.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.

Books

Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.

Music

PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.

Film

'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.

Music

Bright Eyes' 'Down in the Weeds' Is a Return to Form and a Statement of Hope

Bright Eyes may not technically be emo, but they are transcendently expressive, beatifically melancholic. Down in the Weeds is just the statement of grounding that we need as a respite from the churning chaos around us.

Film

Audrey Hepburn + Rome = Grace, Class, and Beauty

William Wyler's Roman Holiday crosses the postcard genre with a hardy trope: Old World royalty seeks escape from stuffy, ritual-bound, lives for a fling with the modern world, especially with Americans.

Music

Colombia's Simón Mejía Plugs Into the Natural World on 'Mirla'

Bomba Estéreo founder Simón Mejía electrifies nature for a different kind of jungle music on his debut solo album, Mirla.

Music

The Flaming Lips Reimagine Tom Petty's Life in Oklahoma on 'American Head'

The Flaming Lips' American Head is a trip, a journey to the past that one doesn't want to return to but never wants to forget.

Music

Tim Bowness of No-Man Discusses Thematic Ambition Amongst Social Division

With the release of his seventh solo album, Late Night Laments, Tim Bowness explores global tensions and considers how musicians can best foster mutual understanding in times of social unrest.

Music

Angel Olsen Creates a 'Whole New Mess'

No one would call Angel Olsen's Whole New Mess a pretty album. It's much too stark. But there's something riveting about the way Olsen coos to herself that's soft and comforting.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Masma Dream World Go Global and Trippy on "Sundown Forest" (premiere)

Dancer, healer, musician Devi Mambouka shares the trippy "Sundown Forest", which takes listeners deep into the subconscious and onto a healing path.

Music

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" Is an Ode for Unity in Troubling Times (premiere)

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" is a gentle, prayerful tune that depicts the heart of their upcoming album, Crucible.

Music

'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.

Music

Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.

Television

Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.

Film

Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.

Music

The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.