He's the ex hardcore punk singer songwriter who has been compared to a young Bruce Springsteen. Frank Turner's new single Wessex Boy is an infectious and whimsical song which perfectly captures the spirit of the West Country. Country Calling talks to Frank Turner
Wessex Boy caught our imagination because we represent the West Country. Can you tell us what inspired you to write it?
I grew up in and around Winchester, and it occurred to me that there are a lot of songs about LA, New York, London, even Dublin, but I couldn't think of one about Winchester, so I got to work. I like using the word Wessex to outline my geographical roots, it calls to something old.
You grew up in the South West, what does this part of the world mean to you and do you miss it when you're away?
It's home, basically. I grew up in Hampshire, but I have a lot of family further down towards the South-West. I spend the majority of my time overseas now, always on the road, and I get pretty wistful thinking about the South Downs when I'm in far-flung places. It makes me feel good when I have the chance to come home.
We think your song really embodies the West Country spirit. It's an area steeped in ancient musical history and tradition. Has that ihspired you?
Yes, very much so, I initially got interested in folk music because it brought together my two obsessions in life - music and history. I'm intrigued by the music of my forebears, basically.
When you started out what kind of venues were you playing in the South West?
I started out at the Railway Inn and the Joiners Arms, for the most part, and also played a lot of shows around Devizes, Trowbridge, Yeovil and down to Exeter, on my travels.
You're known as the hardest working musician in the England - was that part of your game plan?
Not specifically, I think I'd tend towards being like this in whatever walk of life I inhabited. I get bored easily, and I think that something is worth doing well if it's worth doing at all.
Now you're playing at Wembley Arena -- how does that feel?
Haha, pretty bizarre actually. I'm still not entirely convinced that I'm not dreaming about it.
Can you tell us your favourite places to go when visit the South West?
I just love to be in the countryside, along the South Downs, across Somerset, the moors... Just to walk around a place that's beautiful, open, peaceful. Watch the video of Frank Turner performing Wessex Boy in Winchester here on youtube.