Turner Cody arrived at the Sidewalk Cafe in New York City in the fall of 1999. There he cut his songwriting teeth alongside other members of the “anti-folk” scene including Adam Green (The Moldy Peaches) And Jeffrey Lewis. New York was a different place at the end of the 20th century. It’s fertile mix which had so inspired artists in the 70s and 80s had not yet disappeared. It could still be felt in the open mics in the East Village, and in the avant-garde performance clubs around the corner. The Rock n’ Roll scene from which The Strokes would soon emerge was in full swing in the bars of the Lower East Side - it’s leather-clad acolytes drinking and carousing deep into the night. This was the New York that Turner Cody and his fellow aspiring songwriters inhabited from park to pad to all-night diner.
In the early days of the Sidewalk Cafe, Cody made 7 mostly lo-fi, home recorded albums (“Turner Cody”, “This Springtime and Others”, “Who Went West”, “The Cody Choir”, “Buds Of May”, “The Great Migration”, “Quarter Century”). A chance encounter with the French folk rock trio Herman Dune resulted in many European tours and an artistic collaboration which remains strong to this day. From that point on, Cody’s haunts would not just be the bars of the East Village but the cafes of Paris and the beer halls of Berlin.
In 2008, Cody’s first 7 records were released as the compilation “60 Seasons” by b.y_records. “Corner Of My Room” from his 2008 record “First Light” appeared in the Oscar nominated film “Un Prophet” directed by Jacques Audiard. Over the next decade, Cody recorded “Gangbusters”, “The Rules Of The Road”, “Last Of The Big Time Spenders”, “Plans And Schemes”, “Hiding In Plain Sight” and “The Duke Of Decline”. The indie-folk inspired approach of his early albums evolved into a studio-recorded sound reminiscent of Cody’s heroes Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Townes Van Zandt, Lou Reed, Hank Williams. These last 7 albums were released as the compilation “The Great Shadow” in 2019. “Songs Of Turner Cody: A Tribute Album” featuring Adam Green, Jeffrey Lewis, Herman Dune, Diane Cluck, Timesbold, and many others was also released that year.
Cody’s commitment to songwriting has remained consistent over his fourteen records. His lyrics draw on a wide range of influences. One familiar with fiction and poetry could detect hints of Poe, Fitzgerald, and Melville; of Ginsberg, Kerouac, Rimbaud, and even the vernacular of American cinema. His great love of song extends to Steven Foster, Civil War ballads, Jazz standards, and show tunes as well as to the luminaries of his craft. Cody is above all a wordsmith. Language is the cornerstone of his work.
The old New York is dead. After seven years delivering pizza to the new haute bourgeoisie Cody decamped to St. Louis, MO with his wife Madeline Valentine and their son Solomon. Turner Cody remains a songwriter in the American tradition.