Dig Baton Rouge

BR musician Henry Turner, Jr. launches new TV show

If you love listening to live concerts but hate standing in crowds, then you’re soon to be in luck because Henry Turner, Jr. has developed a new show for music lovers.

The show, titled Henry Turner, Jr.’s Listening Room, takes currently archived footage from previous concert sessions at Turner’s venue the Listening Room and will be distributed through Planet Blue Pictures, based out of Sydney, Australia.

“The deal with Planet Blue Pictures is to develop several TV shows and put them into digital distribution, which will be a worldwide digital distribution,” Turner said. “This particular organization has relationships with Vimeo, with Hulu, a whole bunch of digital distributors.”

Turner finished his first episode at the end of 2016 and is currently working on his second episode, which will be released in a couple of weeks after the first episode becomes digitally available through his distributor.

The initial spark to create the TV show for Turner was seeing that regional musicians, specifically in Baton Rouge, were under-distributed in a more visual sense.

“We’ve had records, but the closest thing we’ve had to a major TV show was Louisiana Juke Box,” Turner said. “All it really was, was documenting all the bands in and around Louisiana and then putting it out to the masses.”

By the age of 25, Turner was already a signed recording artist with experience in television. In the back of his mind, he always wanted to be involved in TV, but that feeling increased after becoming a music activist.

“I feel the need more, because it’s not about me anymore, it’s about a whole bunch of people and I want to be the conduit to lead the music generation to further our music cause,” Turner said.

Turner had wanted to see the bands that came through the Listening Room broadcast to the world, and believed digital was the way to go since he had found a global increase in his music reach via digital means during the last 15 years.

“I’ve had a lot of worldwide exposure with that,” Turner said. “Search anyplace for Henry Turner Jr., and you’ll find us all over. Everywhere from China to Japan, to the UK, all of the domestic sites where music is sold.”

Turner waited for the digital side of TV to catch up to the digital download side of audio, and now that it’s possible, he is excited about the possibilities it opens for Baton Rouge.

“I’ve just been motivated to try to see if we can at least create that type of visibility and exposure for Baton Rouge,” Turner said. “I think we can, and the reason I think we can is that digital technology is at an all-time high where every consumer is walking around with a digital device in their hand.”

With all the elements falling into place, Turner saw the perfect “gumbo” to get his idea off the ground. He has been networking with independent filmmakers in the community, and filmmakers who remained in the state after the majority transferred to Atlanta.

“When you ask them to get involved, they’re more than happy to try new things because they’re waiting to work on a new project,” Turner said.

Some of the local filmmakers involved in the project include Ted Baldwin and Rebirth Shield Productions, who have worked with Turner for years documenting sessions at the Listening Room. The first episode highlights performances by Turner and Sara Collins and the Sara Collins Band at the Listening Room, interspersed with interviews conducted by TV personality Whitney Vann. The second episode will go further into the other guests that are hosted at Listening Room performances.

“I don’t want to give the second episode away, but let’s just say one of the performances will be in New Orleans,” Turner said. “It’s going to be a really cool place in New Orleans.”

There has been considerable buzz from the music community in response to the TV show’s creation. Turner has received several messages inquiring on links to the show, or if they can be featured on an upcoming episode.

“There are daily responses on that,” Turner said. “Everybody’s kind of wanting in on the show.”

It is Turner’s hope though that the show will be inspirational for others to get out there and create shows featuring original music as well.

“I would like to see people do the same thing with the Listening Room concept,” Turner said. “Take this and run with it, don’t let it be the only thing out there. Make it be a guiding light to how we are going to promote Louisiana and Louisiana music.”

See the first episode below:

Photo by Sean Gasser.

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