Even for an experienced musician like Will Turpin, putting together a new solo album was an adventure, squeezed in whenever he could find the time.
With more than 100 concerts a year as bassist for the multi-platinum selling Collective Soul, raising three children, Turpin keeps pretty busy. Still, he made the effort to finish Serengeti Drivers(Gooey Records, 2018), his debut full-length solo album.
“I started to craft and record these songs right around the time my wife Donna was diagnosed with breast cancer,” Turpin said. “Cancer will change your outlook on life in an instant and it definitely is a part of this record.”
Over a four-year period, Turpin put the work in on Serengeti Drivers, his follow up to 2011’s The Lighthouse. The five-song EP was a piano-driven power pop statement that pleasantly took many critics and fans by surprise. Some of the lyrical themes in his latest offering explore love, honesty, betrayal, spiritual boundaries and cosmic relevance.
Produced by Turpin and co-produced by Jonathan Beckner, Serengeti Driversis an 11-song showcase featuring plenty of riffs, aggressive up-tempo rockers, tender tunes, slices of Americana and Beatle-influenced numbers. They are melodically rich, deeply textured, lyrically insightful, and its title Serengeti Driverssuggests, wildly adventurous, which came to Turpin in a dream.
“At the beginning of this record I was having this recurring dream where I was walking in the desert. I wasn’t lost but yet I didn’t know where I was or where I was going. I would see a group of friends, and they would be driving in the desert and having fun,” Turpin said. “I’d ask, ‘Who are these Serengeti drivers? Hey, I know them!’”
Indeed, he does. Turpin co-wrote five of the songs with Atlanta-based musician and long-time friend Jason Fowler, one of fifteen musicians tapped for Serengeti Drivers. He also enlisted the talents of Shane Evans and Ryan Hoyle –Collective Soul’s first two drummers as well as Johnny Rabb, who currently carries the sticks for that band. Joe Gransden and Wes Funderburk, (trumpet and trombone), were Turpin’s friends dating back to George State School of Music in the early ‘90s. Turpin has known them all for many years and says those friendships only enhance the music.
“The importance of who you surround yourself with when you’re artistically creating can’t be overestimated because you only have that one moment in time to get the goods,” Turpin said. “So if things aren’t clicking smoothly and going forward, then it doesn’t matter how good you are. There’s a shorthand with friends and that’s so valuable in a studio setting.”
Serengeti Driversis available for pre-order and will be released to iTunes, Amazon, Apple Music, Spotify and other musical platforms everywhere starting on May 1, 2018.