It’s difficult to articulate the impact that Frank Turner’s music has had on me. It’s comforted me through times of grief, heartache, existential crisis, and it’s lifted me up in times of joy. I connected with it to such an extent that I once paid a Polish man over £200 to etch some Frank Turner cover art in to my calf.
One thing that Turner is expressly proud of is his homeland of Hampshire. And since I’ve started living in Southampton, the connection with Frank’s music grew even stronger.
With his seventh studio album and very first world tour on the way, Frank Turner is a little acknowledged regional treasure. Let’s take a look back at some of the times he gave a nod to Hampshire in his music.
This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the One of Me – Campfire Punkrock
Maybe not starting on the best foot here. ‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the One of Me’ is essentially a young Turner absolutely tearing into his hometown and everyone in it.
The song even ends with the line “well I’m gonna move to London anyway so I’ll see you around.” Ouch.
In his defence, everyone loathes their hometown at one point or another.
To Take You Home – Love Ire & Song
“I come from the land of the Wessex Downs from the Hampshire hills near Winchester town.” The song opens with these words. Frank goes on to say that “this is where I call home.” That’s more like it.
‘To Take You Home’ is about finding love on the road. But it’s also about accepting where you come from, being proud of where you grew up, and wanting to share it with others.
English Curse – England Keep My Bones
English curse is a hauntingly bare acapella track. It sounds like an old medieval ballad.
Turner told Drankin’ and Smokin’ in 2011:
“I’m from near the New Forest, that’s kind of where I grew up and, because I’m literally the coolest person you’ve ever met, I was reading up on some books about local folk lore and myths and legend and that kind of thing and I found this story about ‘The Blacksmith’s Curse’ and the death of King William II. It was just one of those things that the minute I read it I was just like ‘man, I am going to use that in a song’. Then it just sort of came together, so, there it is.”
Turner even teaches Hampshire’s history in his music.
Wessex Boy – England Keep My Bones
I’ve saved the biggest homage to Frank Turner’s home town until last. ‘Wessex Boy’ is an almost complete reversal on the stance that ‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the One of Me’ takes.
It’s a touching tribute to Winchester. A careful hark back to the days Turner spent there. And an acceptance that you can never escape where you’re from.
All in all Frank Tuner is someone that Hampshire should be proud of. Although he did finally move to London anyway, he’s clearly never forgotten his roots.
Frank returns to his home county on mayday this year. He’s playing at Southampton Guildhall, just one of many many stops on his upcoming world tour.
Turner’s seventh studio album ‘Be More Kind‘ comes out on May 4th.