Performer Scene: Dom Turner

How did you get into playing the guitar?

Partially through the influence of an older brother who is a guitarist, and partially because I wanted to play some of the early blues music that I was into as a teenager.

What was your first good guitar and how did you get it? (Do you still have it?)

It was a Guld S-100 that I bought from a mentor in Sydney (Gypsy Dave Smith) in around 1981. Sadly I don’t have it anymore.

What were your early musical influences?

Fred McDowell, Robert Johnson, Lead Belly, Charley Patton, Son House, Skip James, Furry Lewis, Yank Rachell, Blind Blake, Blind Willie McTell, Blind Willie Johnson to name but a few

Favourite piece of gear?

My National Val Pro Guitar.

What gear that you still use today has been with you the longest?

A Boss GT3 Multi Effects pedal that has been a staple in terms of sounds for Backsliders since 1996.

What are your top 3 guitar albums (or songs)?

Kokomo (Mississippi Fred McDowell)

Preaching (Robert Johnson)

Hard Time Killing Floor (Skip James)

What’s your latest release/recording?

About to release a new Backsliders album ‘Bonecrunch’ due out in November

I recently (2019/2020) released 2 cross cultural music collaborations:

Microtonal Crossroads One: Music for Slide Guitar and Guqin

Microtonal Crossroads Two: Music for Slide Guitar and Komungo

Any upcoming live/streaming gigs?

A solo gig at Lizottes Newcastle Sunday November 22.

What’s YOUR scene?


About Dom Turner

“Turner is a phenomenal guitarist – slide and otherwise – and brilliant songwriter with trademark vocals” Rhythms Magazine 2015
“The man is a phenomenal blues player.” BWW Reviews 2015

Dom Turner is best known as guitarist/ vocalist, founding member and key songwriter of the iconic Australian blues group, Backsliders. He has toured the Australian festival circuit since the 1980s and regularly appears at most major blues related music festivals including Bluesfest, Woodford Folk Festival and Blues on Broadbeach to name but a few.

Dom’s other musical projects include international collaborations; The Turner Brown Band with Toledo Ohio based lap steel guitarist Nikki D Brown of the Sacred Steel guitar tradition, Phil Wiggins & Dom Turner with US National Heritage Award recipient and harmonica virtuoso, Phil Wiggins, Kim Sinh & Dom Turner with Vietnamese stringed instrument master, Kim Sinh, as well as Dom Turner & Jin Hi Kim with innovative Korean Komongo musician, Jin Hi Kim

Local projects include; ‘Supro’, a mix of dub and blues and features original and reconstructed songs, The Angry Tradesmen, a grunge-rock project with fellow Backsliders, Rob Hirst. Dom Turner & Tony Wheeler with Chinese Guqin musician, Tony Wheeler, Dom Turner & Ian Collard with award-winning harmonica player and regular in Backsliders, Ian Collard.

Dom’s influences are many and varied – a blend of delta blues, Piedmont blues, rock, dub and sounds of Asia. He is a highly regarded speaker on blues music and has guested on Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)  radio programs (including a weekly series on ABC Gold Coast entitled “Blues Tuesdays” and guest presenting Radio National’s ‘Music Deli’) and presented music workshops at festivals and in universities (both nationally and internationally).  

In 2004 Dom was voted ‘Blues Songwriter of the Year’ at the Australian Blues Awards. As well as over 30 years of recording and performing blues in Australia and internationally with the Backsliders, Dom has embarked on a variety of solo and collaborative musical projects including touring as a solo artist in the USA, playing and teaching blues guitar at Augusta Blues week in West Virginia, and in 2006, touring Mexico with US blues greats, Del Ray and Steve James. His trademark ‘slide’ guitar sound can be heard on myriad session recordings and his songs have featured on the ABC TV programme “Seachange’, as well as the soundtrack to Tim Winton’s best-selling novel, ‘Dirt Music and the 2013 Channel 9 TV series ‘Underbelly – Squizzy Taylor’. In 2008 Dom was invited onstage to play with slide guitar legend Derek Trucks at the Adelaide international Guitar Festival.

About Martin Cilia 85 Articles
Martin is an Australian guitarist and vintage guitar collector. Apart from his solo work he is a member of The Atlantics, Dave Warner’s From the Suburbs and is currently guitarist in Mental As Anything.