Eddie Turner's sophomore solo release, coming just a year after his first album, stays in the same groove as his well-received 2005 offering. That album nabbed a Blues Music Award nomination for Best New Artist Debut, and this one is just as impressive. Maybe he's making up for lost time since the guitarist has been at it as a sideman for three decades starting with his work in the legendary Zephyr. But whatever the reason, this is another gripping slab of searing, imaginative blues-rock. Detractors will likely peg the singer/guitarist as yet another Hendrix clone, but despite the eerie vocal similarities, there is far more going on here. Most of the personnel from the first disc contribute their talents including producer/bassist Kenny Passarelli and drummer Mark Clarke. But this is very much Turner's show as he shifts from fluid, electric guitar rave-ups to the more spooky, slinky vibe of "I'm a Man, I'm a Man." An underlying voodoo funk consumes the album, infusing a slithery and rather dark intensity to this blues based material. It's similar to the ominous feel that pervades the work of Turner's longtime associate Otis Taylor. Fiery percussion drives the title track and gospel female background vocals add a religious slap to the song's edgy and passionate tale of redemption. Little of this disc is straight-ahead blues, but the genre is never far away in the mix, especially on the slower riff grind of the instrumental "Pomade." Turner plays like a caged tiger before mealtime, pacing and building his taut solos to crescendos and overdubbing himself to striking effect. Although he shares lots of Hendrix's singing tics, it's obvious he's no mere second-rate copy, either vocally or instrumentally. A few tracks such as "Jody" reign his style into feisty pop melodies, but most songs shapeshift from spacy to muscular as Turner leads them with his quicksilver guitar. A terrific follow-up to Rise that even bests it at times, The Turner Diaries is a stunning example of how a seemingly lifelong backing musician can step up, even later in his career, to reveal frontman talents.
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AllMusic Review by Hal Horowitz