By Kristan Pagliei
On Friday, September 23, English singer-songwriter, Frank Turner, paid a visit to Kutztown’s Young Ones record shop. Turner’s team confirmed the meet-and-greet two days before, which left little time for store employees and fans to prepare.
Turner is described as a folk-punk and often acoustic, but never-the-less rock and roll, artist from Hampshire, U.K. He has put out six studio albums, many about hard times and getting through them or good times and keeping them.
Turner’s newest album, ‘Positive Songs for Negative People’ has been featured at Young Ones for the last year.
“We try to keep all of the current year stuff very prominently for our in-store play selection,” said owner of Young Ones, Cecilia Holt. “It would have been on some of our Top Ten lists if we had heard it earlier.”
Turner will be wrapping up his U.S. tour and heading back to the U.K. in November. Turner is quickly approaching his 2,000th live show celebration.
The shop opened up at 11 a.m., an hour before his expected arrival time. Among the visitors to Young Ones was Kevin, or the self-proclaimed ‘The Rock God.’ According to him, his day he was the answer to messy, avant-garde music in the surrounding area. Before selling his vast record collection (including an original press of Sonic Youth’s first album) and retiring, he owned ‘The Record Bar’ in the Berkshire Mall.
“I think Kutztown is really blessed to have a guy of his scope and magnitude come here. You know, everything I’ve heard from him is fantastic stuff. I wish more people were here today,” said The Rock God.
At that point, there was about a half-hour left on the “Frank Turner Day” countdown. By noon, the store and air had been filled with hope and enthusiasm. People gathered records and obscure artifacts ready to be signed.
There was a common confusion going on in the store that day, though. With the short notice, it was a huge mystery, Though he has played huge festivals like Lollapalooza and the Reading and Leeds Festivals, he seems to favor smaller, more personal gigs.
“I think it’s cool that Frank Turner is such an established artist and he’s still going to do an in-store [meet-and-greet] on such a short notice,” said Tyler Troutman.
When he arrived, it was immediately obvious that Turner prefers intimate settings. He quickly began an open conversation with the crowd and effortlessly formed everyone into a line. He took about five-to-ten minutes with each fan, hugging them, signing their respective relics and having real conversation.
“I think the most important thing is connection and talking to people,” said Turner. “I’ve done a lot of stuff with mental health in the U.K.; isolation is the worst thing. The problem is that a lot of people with [these] issues also tend to be the kind of people who isolate themselves.”
Young One’s next scheduled in-store performance features band Simo on October 5 at 12 p.m. Holt said that they are actively searching for bands to come and perform. They recently had Sevendust come by for a meet-and-greet before their concert in Allentown.
“We try to look at their tour itinerary. Sometimes the labels reach out to us, but it’s a little bit harder for us because we’re a little town. We’re not in a big city; it’s easy for places in Philly or Nashville. They have people stop by all the time,” said Holt.
Follow and check the Young Ones’ Facebook page and website for upcoming meet-and-greets and performances.