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Then Came God

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Dan Turner: Country
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Takin' Back the USA

Dan Turner: Takin

Through music, he finds God's grace

First Published: August 25, 2010 in the News Register

Through music, he finds God's grace                      

By ARIANE KUNZE                                                  

Of the News-Register

Getting a chance to play country and gospel at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace in Bakersfield is just one of the many prestigious honors musician Dan Turner has earned over his highly successful music career.

Now living on a 5-acre farm outside Amity, Turner credits his stardom to his formative years in Kentucky, where he grew up playing guitar with his brothers. Son of a preacher and coal miner, he was heavily influenced by both the gospel and gospel music as a child.

He began his performing career playing small local functions, often held at schools.

When he joined the Air Force in 1975, he brought his country music roots with him. He earned recognition playing in military talent shows.

After leaving the Air Force, Turner moved to Bakersfield to join the Gospel band, One Voice. He toured the South with the band and eventually became its booking agent.

Between 1985 and 1995, the band performed before audiences of up to 8,000. Along the way, it produced five albums.

"We ministered to many, many people through song and the Word," he said.

Turner's next great adventure led him to the North America Country Music Association, where he earned several major awards and lots of press.

In 1996, Buck Owens' production manager, Jerry Hufford, invited Turner to play the Crystal Palace. By then, he had hooked up with a new band, Still Country.

He played the Palace regularly during the next six years. He even shared the stage with country music sensation Tracy Lawrence.

Turner said the Palace lies in downtown Bakersfield,.and features a large stage with an oversized screen for visuals.

His fondest memory is playing there for an audience of Israelis who danced exuberantly below the stage. "You get to meet people from all over the world," he noted.

The exposure served him well. He was honored as "Male Entertainer of the Year" by the California Country Music Association in 1996, and claimed "Songwriter/Song of the Year" honors from the County Music Association of America in 1997.

Turner has since settled in Oregon with his wife, Taffy Carlisle-Turner. And he is continuing to write, perform and record music.

He just held a release party for his newest album, "Then Came God," late last month at the Dayton Christian Church. He was joined by the band he's currently playing with, Last Call, as well as the Other Brothers Band.

Last Call features Jim Cummings on drums, Carl Dudley on lead guitar, Brad Gill on bass and Daniel Duran on keyboards. Turner and his wife, Taffy, handle the vocals.

The band plays as often as it can manage, but children and grandchildren have become a big focus of its members these days.

Turner's newest single, "Taking Back the USA," was the principal focus of the Dayton event, which drew a large, enthusiastic crowd.

The song delves into what he perceives as a growing disconnect between the American government and its citizens, whom he feels are increasingly losing their freedoms. A patriotic video played on a screen in the background, the intent being to illustrate the passion and enthusiasm he feels for his country.

"People ended up standing, one by one," he said. "They really liked it."

Last Call's next project is an album called "God and Country." It's being built around Turner's new single.

He and his wife have also continued their musical ministry by performing at weekly worship services. They have been making the rounds ever since making the move to Oregon eight years ago.

"Sure, we'd like to play music full time," he said. "But you can only do what you can do and see what happens."