Set out like a peaceful piano ballad but powered by a tornado-like emotional drive that will become commonplace across the next few songs, “Wish I Could Just Stop By” snaps out of the silence stoically at first, only to transform before our very ears into one of the more epic slow songs I’ve heard from an indie-folk/alternative rock artist in a long while. Karen Turner’s debut EP Tonight There Might Be Stars is full of rousing numbers like this one, but each of them feels unique in presentation and artistic themes as opposed to progressively forming one narrative across a collection of tracks, as has been increasingly standard among a lot of singer/songwriters in her theme. She’s got a lot of ground to cover in this record, and she doesn’t mind stepping on the creative gas when necessary.


“Blue Mind” is much more bohemian than “Wish I Could Just Stop By” is, but its delicate framing feels a little more significant to its aesthetics than any of its cosmetic features do. Turner has a great ability to be gentle with her tone whilst crushing with her words, which is a talent I’ve only come across in a few other players in the past ten years or so of reviewing this kind of folk content. She isn’t exploiting this ability quite as much as she could with pieces like “Blue Mind” and “Jacaranda,” but she’s giving us enough of an idea as to what she might do in future studio sessions.

“Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway” definitely has the most layered melodies of any track in the record, but its stateliness and rock-influenced arrangement don’t overpower any of the adjacent material – in fact, I think this was a good point in Tonight There Might Be Stars to spotlight her versatility with a pen, as most of this EP is centered on her melodic sensibilities more than anything else. There are numerous gifts that she has to offer in these songs, and being that this is only our introduction to her skillset as opposed to a proper depiction of what she can do in every possible scenario (such as inside of a full-length studio album), the very fact that she can do as much as she does with five songs is truly impressive.

We conclude our journey with Karen Turner’s Tonight There Might Be Stars under the shady melodies of “If the World Is Ending,” which successfully brings a little self-awareness and angst into the closing of the tracklist without sending us off on a bad note. When all is said and done this summer, I think this record is going to be celebrated as one of the better debuts to arrive in 2022 mostly because of its compositional strength and the endless charismas of Turner, who comes out of the background to prove herself one of the more adept and creative voices currently making alternative folk music in her scene, or anywhere else for that matter. I love where this is going, and hopefully, we won’t have to wait too long for a sequel.

Garth Thomas