Sunday, 6 March 2016

The Road Beneath My Feet by Frank Turner

review by Libby Mayfield

On September 23rd 2005, Frank Turner played his last show with Million Dead. On April 13th 2012, he played Wembley with his band, The Sleeping Souls. Over the course of several EPs and albums, dozens of tours and more than a handful of transport disasters, last minute shows, and drunken nights, the singer/songwriter tells his story of playing in the back of a pub to playing to tens of thousands of people. 

With the title taken as a line from one of his own songs, The Road Beneath My Feet tells the almost unbelievable story of what can be achieved through sheer hard work and resilience, but it's not all glory and good friends. Turner speaks frankly, often brutally, about the harsh reality of a life on the road, from the predictable - long, silent drives for hundreds of miles across America or nights sleeping on floors - to the wildly unexpected - a dead deer or being totally lost in the English countryside. I'm not one to laugh out loud at books, or to be moved to tears of sadness, joy, and laughter by one, so perhaps it's the fact that every anecdote, no matter how self critical, is true that makes this an exception. 
Disregard any worries you might have that the stories will be a shoddily put together collection of scraps of half-forgotten tales; you'll be surprised by his ability to draw you into the atmosphere of his live shows and the grittiest moments of living out a suitcase.

Frank Turner is a humble man, and though he's obviously and rightfully proud of what he's achieved in the six and a half years the book takes place over, he's never one to brag about it. His passion for music is blatantly obvious and no matter how many hundreds of people he plays to, he remains down to earth. It works well as a biography, but for some people The Road Beneath My Feet could be a good guide on how to treat the chaotic music industry correctly. 

You don't need to be a fan of Frank Turner's music to be shocked and moved by some of the tales he has to tell; but if you are, you'll gain a new insight into the backdrop for some of his songs.

For any budding musician, this will be the book that decides for you if you want to pursue your dream further, and for any fan of adventure, this will be the book that shows you how many adverse situations one person can battle through.

Publisher - Headline
Genre - autobiography, music

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