Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Features / Living

December 30, 2012

She sings an American tune

Something old, something red, white and new for AshliDawn

The photo of a woman with the stars and stripes streaming behind her on a compact disc cover may well be worth 1,000 words. 

But you have to listen to “American” to get AshliDawn Turner’s whole story. 

A formally trained singer who studied voice at Howard Payne University, the Joshua resident took the family route instead of going pro. 

Now, thanks to new romance, money from friends and a batch of patriotic songs, Turner is calling her own tune. 

“I feel alive,” she said. “I’m on fire.”

The project took shape when Turner’s fiance, National Guard Lt. Tom Bradshaw, was shipped to Afghanistan in April 2011. 

“I cried many nights,” said Turner, who was rearing a young son by herself while she waited for her fiance to return. “I was lonely during the days.”

But Turner realized she wasn’t the only one waiting.

 

“You do not have the support that other branches have on their bases,” when you’re in National Guard because members’ families live at home, not on base, Turner said. “They’ll come home to no homes, no wives. 

“It causes so much stress. I want to raise awareness of what the National Guard goes through.”

Turner’s original songs, such as “Through the War,” poured out as she cleaned house or drove. 

“It’s patriotic, jazz, blues, gospel all through  it,” said Turner, 41, of the CD. “To me, it’s all about God and country.”

The songs might have stayed inside Turner’s head — she doesn’t play an instrument or write music and composes by ear — if Sherry Hodges, the wife of a soldier in her fiance’s Guard company, hadn’t heard her sing at church.

The enthusiasm translated into financial backing for a 10-song recording session at Patrick McGuire Studios in Arlington: $13,000 worth of engineering, musicianship and arrangements. 

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