Music » CD Reviews

Turner Cody

Buds of May (Digitalis Recordings)


1 comment

Turner Cody is commonly associated with "antifolk." This is a nebulous gaggle of singer-songwriters from New York who enjoy subverting the American folk tradition with big-city irony and indie amateurism.

But there's nothing "anti" about Cody's folk. While he does appear on Rough Trade's 2002 compilation Antifolk, Vol. 1, he isn't an urban novelty self-consciously dicking around with folk music. Rather, he's one of these out-of-time oddballs, like the Holy Modal Rounders or Jimmy Cousins, who really should've been born before the Depression.

Buds of May, Cody's eighth album, isn't quite as satisfying as 2005's The Great Migration. But it does flow with more of Cody's literary gobbledygook and cryptic narratives conflating the nonsensical and profound. The singer and guitarist definitely has a bit of early Dylan in him, except his image isn't that of a neo-Guthrie populist. He's an oil tycoon's black-sheep nephew — a Tin Pan Alley drunkard with a cynic's mind and a wounded heart.

But that's all a bit heavy, for Buds of May as well as The Great Migration succeed because Cody surrounded himself with the perfect little jazz-folk combo. He's a folkie who understands the importance of lyrics and music.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.