Karen Turley is a Singer-Songwriter from Omagh in Northern Ireland, living in Liverpool. She started playing the guitar at the age of 15 and has always had a passion for music, particularly American Folk and Country.
Karen began writing her own music in 2008 when she moved to Liverpool for university. She recorded her own songs and covers from her bedroom and was lucky enough to have Gerry Anderson from BBC Radio Ulster play her cover of Bob Dylan's 'Boots of Spanish Leather' in 2009. Continuing to write and play in Omagh, she formed 'The Jesse Janes' in 2012 with two friends. An all female Bluegrass and Folk trio, Karen enjoyed success gigging with the girls in Liverpool and Omagh before forming a 7 piece Roots and Bluegrass band called 'When Johnny Met Jane' with mutual friends 'Johnny Walker Wisdom'. The band even recorded an EP in 2014. Karen parted ways in 2015 to focus on her own material.
In March 2015 Karen was chosen to travel to Nashville for a week of Songwriting workshops and activities with esteemed Songwriters. From an open call, Monkey Mind Productions, Bob Harris (BBC Radio 2), David Macias (Thirty Tigers), Erika Wollam (The Bluebird Cafe), Ralph Murphy (ASCAP) and Yaw Owusu (Liverpool International Music Festival) selected two songwriters to spend the week learning from professionals and to perform 'in the round' with Don Henry and Beth Nielsen Chapman in the world famous 'Bluebird Cafe'.
The competition was part of an exciting exchange between Liverpool and Nashville, with The 'Bluebird Cafe' being recreated in August 2015 in 'The Bluecoat' in Liverpool for an evening of live performances. Karen performed 'in the round' at the Early Show for this event with Kim Richey, Don Henry and Kirsty McGee. Afterwards the late show was hosted by 'Whispering Bob Harris' and included special guests from Nashville including Jim Lauderdale and Beth Nielsen Chapman.
"The real magic, came when they started to spontaneously collaborate as the two-hour set unfolded, making their choice of closing song even more appropriate and evocative. Written together in Nashville by Turley, McGee and Henry, it was a celebration of that city and the very act of writing songs that left few dry eyes in the house."
NorthernSoul.me.uk on 'The Bluebird at The Bluecoat', Aug 2015
Karen has a mixture of influences from the likes of KT Tunstall, Brandi Carlile, Dixie Chicks, Gregory Alan Isakov, Paul Simon, Fleetwood Mac, a deep love of Bluegrass, particularly Alison Krauss and Union Station and a love of traditional country; Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton & Johnny Cash, to name a few.
"Karen's music is like having a Guinness with Dolly Parton while Fleetwood Mac plays on the jukebox"
2016 saw Karen support Xander and the Peace Pirates at The View Two Gallery with Liverpool Acoustic and in March she was thrilled to perform as part of the The Liverpool Acoustic Festival in The Unity Theatre.
2016 also saw her play The Chorlton Arts Festival, West Kirby Live and the very first Folk Festival at The Docks at the end of August as well as supporting Singer-Songwriter 'Franc Cinelli' on the Liverpool stop of his UK tour.
In 2017 Karen's new recording - 'Like We Used To EP' was released on Itunes and GooglePlay on 31st March. With her EP launch on 24th March In Liverpool, thanks to Liverpool Acoustic and Ken at The View Two Gallery on Mathew Street.
In May of 2017 Karen was chosen to play at Elderflower Fields Festival on the Americana Association UK 'Woodland Stage'.
She was also delighted to support Don Gallardo in July on the Liverpool stop of his UK tour alongside Hannah Rose Platt.
Karen rounded out the year performing in Portugal, supporting local favourite 'Limerance' in Liverpool, 'Johnny Walker Wisdom' in Omagh and Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards in London.
In 2018 Karen began work on her single 'New Strings'. Recorded in El Dorado Studios and produced by Anders Johnsen, Karen released the single on all digital platforms in April of 2018.
Karen then spent 5 weeks singing and playing in Portugal and writing new material.
In Autumn 2018 Karen formed 'The Hard Way Home' with friends and Singer-Songwriters Naomi Campbell, Mathew Toner from Liverpool and Robert Johnson from London. The band play every week in Liverpool and have upcoming dates at Festivals in the summer, including 'Country on the Coast Fest' in Portsmouth on 27th April and Medlodika Festival in Iceland in August.
In 2019 Karen Turley and Naomi Campbell began the 'The Grand Opry Sessions' in Liverpool. Based on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, the girls wanted to create an evening where local Country, Folk and Roots acts (and those outside Liverpool) could perform in Phase One - The Jacaranda Liverpool on a regular basis. After a trial run and 2 successful showcases, the 3rd Grand Opry Session will take place in September, 2019. Check out 'The Grand Opry Sessions' Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more information.
Karen plays 3 times a week in 'The Irish House' as well as other dates every week in Liverpool and around the UK and Ireland.