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Collective Soul’s Will Turpin talks charity concert, new solo record

Turpin at the Atlanta Grammy Awards party in January 2012. Photo: Hyosub Shin/AJC

Turpin at the Atlanta Grammy Awards party in January 2012. Photo: Hyosub Shin/AJC

It was nearly 20 years ago that Will Turpin first met Tod Elmore.

Back then, Elmore was part of the promotions team at Atlantic Records, the label that Turpin and his bandmates in Collective Soul called home.

Now, Elmore is a board member for Florida-based organization Rock By the Sea, which uses music and events to raise money for worthwhile causes.

Turpin believed in the cause that Saturday’s show at Vinyl at Center Stage will benefit – pediatric and cancer research and treatment for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Program at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital – and agreed to perform with his newly formed band, The Way (as in, where there’s a Will there’s a …) and singer Amy Gerhartz.

“When it comes to pediatric whatever – whether it’s cancer research or even Collective Soul did a lot of work with pediatric AIDS organizations back in the day – that’s where I like to spend my time,” Turpin said earlier this week, calling from his home in McDonough.

At Saturday’s show, Turpin plans to play a handful of Collective Soul songs, solo material from last year’s EP, “The Lighthouse,” new music from the next record he’s working on with The Way and, of course, some Christmas tunes.

The bassist also recorded a song for the third volume of “A Rock By the Sea Christmas,” released in October, which features holiday offerings from other artists including Michael Lyons, Saints of Valory and Todd Carey.

Turpin’s decision to contribute a funk-i-fied version of “What Child is This” came about in a haphazard manner.

“I always liked the harmonic structure of that tune,” he said. “But when I committed to contribute to the album, I didn’t know what song I’d do. I did a show last December at a cool little café and did almost all Christmas tunes. Then I got off the road and had a week and sat down one afternoon and was waiting for inspiration and seriously, I don’t know how it came to me. I think I was messing around on a Yamaha keyboard and got off on a tangent and wound up playing [‘What Child’] like it was a Cee Lo version.”

Turpin is a massive fan of Christmas music in general and noted that hearing songs at First Baptist Church of Stockbridge, where Ed and Dean Roland’s father was choir director, provided him with a deeper level of appreciation for the reverent songs.

He’d also like to do a full Christmas album one day but first comes his new album with The Way, which he expects to release in April (he calls the songs “a cross-section of pop, rock and trippy psychedelic stuff”) and a commitment to work on a Collective Soul anniversary project.

“We’re doing a huge box set to celebrate 20 years and doing a new record at the same time,” he said. “We’re going to look back but go out and kick a** one more time. We’ll put a stamp on it at 20 years and then we’ll see. I just know that I won’t ever stop playing some Collective Soul songs.”

Rock By the Sea holiday benefit concerts takes place at 7 p.m. Saturday at Vinyl at Center Stage (1374 Peachtree St., Atlanta). Lauren St Jane and the Dead Westerns, Steve Everett, Echo Collection, Travis Denning also perform. $10 in advance, $12 at the door (benefits Pediatric Brain Tumor Program at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital). For tickets:

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By Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene

4 comments Add your comment


November 29th, 2012
10:15 am

CS did a cover of Elvis’ iconic Blue Christmas at the Rich’s tree lighting a few years ago and it was awesome. Will’s a very cool and talented guy and I’m not surprised that he’s donating his time and talents (he can play anything) to another worthy cause. A true son of Henry county. You go Will!


November 29th, 2012
2:39 pm

Kim Stephens- Byrne

November 29th, 2012
3:31 pm

Great to hear of your involvement in such a worthy cause….!!!!
best Kim

jelly andrews

December 4th, 2012
9:29 pm

Wow! It is nice to know that there are people who use their talents to help others. That’s very heart-warming. I wish many will support this kind of shows.