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BWW CD Review: Lauren Turner Releases PLAY ON - An EP That Music Lovers Will Play And Play Over And Over

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BWW CD Review: Lauren Turner Releases PLAY ON - An EP That Music Lovers Will Play And Play Over And OverLauren Turner PLAY ON

They say everything in Texas is bigger, and maybe they're right; one would have to live there and experience the life and the culture to discover the truth. What can be said, without dispute, is that Texas-born Lauren Turner's voice is big - whether that is because of her birthplace, a lucky roll of the genetic wheel of fortune, or years of laborious study is something only Ms. Turner herself can answer to, but the evidence can be found on her new EP being released today, June 19th, titled PLAY ON.

Play On is a mixed bag of material, explained in a press release as memorable songs from Lauren's cabaret career and her childhood. Like in cabaret rooms and, usually, in a singer's childhood, there is no orchestra, no combo, it's just piano and guitar and voice; so you can expect a different sound on songs you know, and you'd pretty much have to never listen to the radio to not know these songs. In Play On Lauren Turner covers music from the '70s, the '80s, and the '90s, but make no mistake - Lauren Turner has a voice for today. The instrument that singers use to communicate with audiences has changed over the years, techniques allow singers to go new places, make new sounds, tell new stories, and Lauren Turner is doing all of that with that which she has been given. Listeners will recognize the titles and the songs but also get some different interpretation on each number. Turner has paid homage to the original artists and recordings by not straying so far from the path that the tunes are unrecognizable, all the while staying true to her own sound and style. Note how, on "I Have Nothing," there are noticeable departures from Whitney Houston's version, though listeners can count on the big notes for which they are hoping. Let's face it, when you become aware that you're going to hear the Bodyguard classic, you prepare yourself for the power moments - sometimes you get them, sometimes you don't; here, you get them, but you also can clock the moments that Ms. Turner lets her own natural styling instincts take her down a path all her own. Assert your individuality, artists!

It's a bold choice, starting the 5-song set with I Have Nothing, but each of Turner's choices here are strong, as she covers the works of Houston, Michael Jackson, Sheryl Crow, James Taylor, and Don Henley, happily with skilled musicians and technicians supporting her every move - the production values on the CD are worth noting. Play On is a pretty wide range of pop music sounds and Ms. Turner acquits herself well on every number, providing the requisite rock and roll sounds expected on "If It Makes you Happy," the introspection necessary for "Fire and Rain," the pop vibe germaine to "I'll Be There," and the passion prone to performances of "Heart of The Matter." It is a satisfying listen but, as an EP, brevity is the order of the day, and that can be a little disheartening because one is left wanting more. Hopefully, Ms. Turner will head back into the studio soon because the cruise ship, cabaret, and theatre performer is ready to stake a claim in the recording world, and she has all that she needs to make it happen.

lay On, Lauren Turner's influences are showing. She sings Whitney and she sings Michael -- or is she singing Mariah? Whoever inspired her song choices, she is ready to show listeners that she is equal to the task of taking on the most famous songs made so by the most famous singers. This will, though, probably be the last time that Turner releases an album of only covers. The path for the lady is patently clear: she is ready for songwriters to be coming to her with works created especially for her, and one day singers will be singing songs because they heard Lauren Turner sing them first.

All proceeds from the sale of PLAY ON benefit the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and The Brave Heart Fund. Read more about these two organizations by clicking on their names and going to their websites.

The Play On team includes:

Michael Isaac, Piano

Daniel Muniz, Guitar

Tara Martinez and Lauren Turner, Background Vocals

Produced by Mitchell Walker

Recorded at Second Story Sound NYC

Mixed by: Alex Venguer at Ootermind Studios

Mastered by: Oscar Zambrano at Zampol Productions NYC

See a video created while under quarantine for HEART OF THE MATTER, featuring The Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers.

Play On is a 2020 release on the Broadway Records label and is available on all streaming platforms.

Per a statement on Lauren Turner's social media, the dancers who appear in the HEART OF THE MATTER video are Layla Stock, Izzy Read, Gina Atkinson, Katherine Margo Brown, Jaimie Ashworth, Ben Ellis Francis Strathie, Luke Cassar, Fenella Speed-Reardon, Tiffany Lear, Hannah Varnham, Patrick Cook and Anto Buckley.

The video is edited by Ali Wonderly


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From This Author Stephen Mosher