Looking back on it, Ellie Turner can’t single out a specific catalyst that led her to this moment.
The Dallas native, now a Nashville-based singer-songwriter, simply took one day at a time. Life unfolded in such a way that she now stands on the precipice of releasing her debut album, “When the Trouble’s All Done,” which drops Friday.
Three years ago, as the COVID-19 pandemic brought much of the world to a crashing halt, Turner found herself, freshly unemployed, reeling from her then-home suffering tornado damage and stepping into the prospect of pursuing music full-time.
“I very much believe that everything happens in its own perfect timing,” Turner said during a recent conversation. “I didn’t start writing with the intention of, like, ‘OK, I’m gonna make a record.’ It was more just this journey of leaning into a pretty drastic creative shift in my life. … After the first couple of songs were written, it was like, ‘Oh, hi, I think this is — this feels like something.’”
Continuing to write, and punctuating her days with long, thoughtful walks spent listening to Bob Dylan’s catalog in chronological order, yielded the songs Turner eventually cut to make When the Trouble’s All Done. (The 10-track record features one cover; naturally, it’s Dylan’s “Oh, Sister.”)
Done is an arresting, raw collection, produced by Jack Schneider (who also co-wrote five of the nine originals) and whose harmony vocals wrap around Turner’s gossamer coo like sunshine. Multi-instrumentalist Wes Langlois and bassist Jared Manzo round out the band.
Recorded in a single room at Nashville’s Sound Emporium Studios, live-to-tape, there’s a decidedly lo-fi and throwback sensibility to what Turner’s made here, an approach very much by design.
“Something I really wanted with this record was I wanted all the fluff and finery to be stripped away,” Turner said. “Just leave what makes the thing the thing.”
Turner has no local dates scheduled as yet — a record release party is set for April 28 for anyone who may in the vicinity of Nashville’s The Station Inn — but plans to spend time touring in support of Done over the coming months. Whether listeners hear the songs live, or on record, her desire is the same — creating a space for the possibility of hope.
“There are many valleys people walk in their lives,” Turner said. “I don’t think that’s something we get to escape as human beings. The darkness — man, it can feel unending sometimes. … I just hope people get a sense for that in the songs — that, you know, it might be dark now, but the morning is always bound to come.”
Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. Email him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter (@prestonjones). Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.