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Frank's success is a victory for proper music

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: November 22, 2012

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More than 28 million people tuned in to the Olympic opening ceremony in July.

And more than 28 million people watched one of the most surprising turn of events in British music this year unfold.

No, I don't mean Paul McCartney "treating" us to another tired run through of Hey Jude. It seems like we wheel him out for every national event to remind us that, yes, The Beatles were quite good.

I am, of course, referring to Frank Turner and his backing band The Sleeping Souls playing a rising and uplifting rendition of I Still Believe, taken from his critically-acclaimed album England Keep My Bones.

Standing atop a grassy hill in front of a live stadium crowd of more than 80,000, many believed Turner was merely a roadie sound-checking for the night of bombastic pomp which was to follow.

But relying solely on his knack for a decent melody and unique ability to turn a phrase, Turner showed exactly why British music is the best on the planet.

"I'm still not convinced that whole Olympics thing happened," Turner tells me while amidst his current tour of the country, which includes a stop off at Lincoln's Engine Shed on Sunday, November 25.

"I never thought I'd ever be in a position like that but I'm very grateful for what's happened to me this year. It just came out of the blue. It felt a bit disjointed but it's the culmination of a lot of hard work."

And hard work it's been. Turner split from the cult post-hardcore band Million Dead in 2005 and released his debut album Sleep Is for the Week two years later.

Since then, he's paid his dues the old fashioned way, travelling up and down the country to play any grimy venue that would have him and repeat the process over and over.

It all lead to this career defining year when, as well as the Olympics performance, he performed a sold out gig at Wembley Arena.

It's Turner's organic and DIY approach to his music which makes his success so important.

And to see him promoted to the major leagues off the back of his sheer talent is an inspiration to thousands across the country who pick up a guitar and start writing songs.

It's why many of his fans feel like they can share in his success – a victory for real musicianship over manufactured pop tripe.

"I love the way that people feel invested in what I do," he continues.

"When I first started I was playing to no one, moving on and playing to no one somewhere else, getting paid nothing and sleeping on the floor.

"There are some people who bitch and moan that I don't play the old songs anymore and say that I've sold out.

"But what I really like is that there are a lot of people and friends who supported me, and now their reaction is that it's all just hilarious.

"It's self-ridicule because, well, it's just so ridiculous how far I've come.

"What I want to do now is just keep trying to be good at what I do – being a songwriter, a good entertainer and keep improving."

With a new album written ready for release in Spring, it looks as if there's no stopping Turner.

And if he keeps up at this rate, maybe we'll get him out when he's Paul McCartney's age, when we next host the Olympics, to play another version of I Still Believe and remind us all that 2012 saw hard work and good songwriting win gold.

Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls play the Engine Shed on Sunday, November 25.

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