Review of her gig in The Point Depot, Dublin, 14 October 2001
Juliet takes the money and runs?and it's about bloody time! The Point Depot, Sunday the 14th of October, was the location for Juliet Turner's last Irish gig for a year. Juliet has finally received the attention she deserves and has been signed to the label East West. EastWest is part of the Warner Music group and has some pretty big names on its books; including The Corrs, Mettalica, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Missy Elliot?the list goes on. Needless to say, it seems Juliet has finally hit the big time but not before paying her dues in Carlow supermarkets and tiny record shops in Newry.
What will always endear Juliet to her audiences is her girl next door quality. On stage Turner tells little stories about her life drawing the audience into the palm of her hand and keeping them there with her witty intelligent lyrics and captivating melodies. She is so honest and so true you almost feel you've met her before. It seems perfectly reasonable to imagine a pint and a natter with Juliet Turner on a quiet Sunday night. Her down to earth narrative style lends itself instinctively to ballads infused with a mix of country folk and blues beats. Unlike many singer songwriters Juliet doesn't try to be anyone but herself. She has no qualms about singing in her northern accent, in fact the lilt works rhythmically with the melodies. Juliet Turner is a refreshing break from the innumerable 'Artists' who take themselves too seriously, unlike many of her peers she shares the inspiration and meaning of every song with her audience.
Growing up in tiny Tummery, County Tyrone, Juliet didn't take her singing seriously until 1993 went she went to Trinity College Dublin. A fan of country music Juliet always liked melodic songwriters with clever lyrics. At Trinity Juliet began to use the guitar her parents had given her when she was 15. In 1994 she was invited to play a gig at the Living Room around the corner from Trinity. It quickly became a regular gig with Juliet concentrating on singing cover songs. Encouraged by promoter Steve Stockman, Juliet began writing her own songs and to her sheer amazement people liked her sound and came back for more. Whilst on Erasamus in Strathclyde Juliet decided to record some of her songs, out of a budget of £800 came the very fine 'Lets hear it for Pizza'.
The Irish music scene began to take notice of the girl from county Tyrone and Juliet was playing bigger gigs sharing the bill with, among other big names,Bob Dylan. Brian Kennedy heard Turner and loved her voice, they paired up on a cover of the beautiful Tom Waits track, 'I hope that I don't fall in love with you'. With manager Derek Nally and producer Gerard Kiely on board, Juliet recorded 'Burn the Black Suit' 'the follow up album to 'Lets hear it for pizza'.
The gig in the Point this weekend was Juliet's farewell to Ireland for a while, at least whilst she concentrates on touring in England. The 28-year-old singer seemed slightly uncomfortable on stage at the Point, due perhaps to the tiny crowd that only filled a portion of the intimidating venue. Singing songs from both albums Juliet also previewed some of her new tracks from her forthcoming album.
The surprise of the night however was Mr. Brian Kennedy, who made a guest appearance to duet with Juliet on the track 'I hope I don't fall in love with you'. After a touching rendition of the ultimate love song, Mr. Kennedy promptly tripped over the monitor landing on his ass! Although it was a very entertaining gig and certainly Juliet Turner is one of Irelands most exciting Singer Songwriters, one couldn't help but feel that the Point was the wrong venue for a farewell gig. Jack L attempted the same type of show last year before going back to the studio to record his new album. He, like Juliet got somehow 'lost' in the point. Having seen both Juliet and Jack L in smaller more intimate settings it is clear which suits them better. The Point completely lacks atmosphere when it's half full or worse two thirds empty. Unquestionably any artist will aspire to play the Point. It seems to be the rubber stamp of success in the Irish music industry, however I can't imagine an almost empty Point Depot is good for the self-esteem.
Singer-songwriters like Margaret Healy and Gemma Hayes are sure to follow in the steps of Juliet Turner as the shadow falls on pop music and the spotlight lights the way for a more creative diverse truthful Irish Music scene.