Turn Out The Light
by John A. Brennan
Local Gems Press

"Yes, through it all there was the music, saving me, shielding me and thrilling me."

After being born and raised in Ireland, the author of this book recounts his twenties spent in London working as a carpenter for the BBC. With a love of the musical revolution taking place in the late 1960s and the decade of the 70s, his position developing sets and stages allowed him to often sneak a view of the performance or occasionally spot a performer like Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, or Jim Morrison backstage. Sharing that love of music, this collection combines letters that the author has written to deceased artists who have gone too soon, each accompanied by a photograph and a poem. This book ties together personal memories and experiences with the phenomenon of “The 27 Club,” a list of musicians who have all passed away during their fame at the age of twenty-seven.

The combination of letters to the deceased and poems allows this book to function at the highest level of poetry while largely abandoning the confines and structure of being strictly just a poetry book. By including the author’s own storytelling and a bit of direct history, the reader gets a more complete perspective on the writer’s emotions and precisely how the music and musicians discussed in the poems stirs him. By adding photographs and liberally sprinkling song titles throughout the poems themselves, the audience acquires a sort of quick reference guide as to how to best discover and enjoy each individual artist as they progress through the book. A joy to read on its own, readers can also dig out their records or go looking for the music online to read along for an enhanced experience.

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