Area resident Blake Turner gained his love of performing music early in life.
“I’ve been on stage since I was 4, and traveling and playing with bands since 19,” said Turner.
His grandfather was a musician, and his parents were in a Branson-style show in Grove in the early 1990s, and he and his two sisters would perform with them.
“We would sing and do little bits with them. They are phenomenal musicians. Everything I’ve learned has been from them,” said Turner. “I enjoyed it and keep doing it.”
Growing up in Westville, Turner was 12 years old when he began playing the guitar “pretty seriously,” and was 15 when he started writing songs.
“I’m always writing; I write constantly,” he said. “I have a 45-minute drive to work, so I write in the car. When I get there, I immediately grab my guitar and put chords to it.”
He prefers to create when he has time alone, and suggests those wanting to get into music to “go all in.”
“Turn everything off, and let your mind go to be creative,” he said. “Don’t be hesitant. Jump in and don’t be scared.”
After graduating from Westville High School, Turner performed with Downtown Country through Northeastern State University, and earned degrees in history and political science at NSU.
He married Paige in September 2018, and they currently live “out in the country between Tahlequah and Little Kansas.”
While he has been in other bands, including the River’s Edge Band until 2018, Turner performs under his own name as an acoustic act and with the Blake Turner Band.
“I play a lot of acoustic shows, mainly as a duo. I like to bring in other guitar players,” he said.
“I try to play with people who are better than myself. It makes me step up my game.”
He released the Blake Turner EP featuring five songs in February 2019, and hopes to have new releases out this year.
His music has been labeled country and Americana, and his early inspirations were the “lyrical genius” of Merle Haggard, and the “come-at-you” rock-and-roll of Bruce Springsteen.
“I just do what I want and hope everybody likes it,” Turner said.
As with a lot of artists and musicians, trying to market themselves or secure gigs is the most challenging part for Turner.
“Booking is always hard, especially if you hit a reset and break off from a band and you’re out there on your own name,” he said. “It’s all word of mouth and networking.”
Turner’s “day job” is as the operations manager of Lake’s Country 102.1, which takes him on air and to remote broadcasts and promotional events.
While booking can be a challenge, Turner said the most rewarding part is getting out and meeting other musicians. He performs just about every weekend.
When he’s not at a show, Turner can be found hanging out with his wife, Paige, or playing with their two dogs.
To know he’s left his mark and touched lives, Turner has one hope: “I want to die an old man with standing-room only at my funeral.”