Kyle Turley comes by his style honestly

By Marley Shebala
Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK, April 1, 2010

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(Special to the Times - Donovan Quintero)

Country singer Kyle Turley, a former NFL football player, performs at Nakai Hall Sunday night in Window Rock. Turley is currently on tour with Hank Williams III, grandson of the legendary country singer Hank Williams Sr., and son of Hank Williams Jr.

Kyle Turley is a no-nonsense workingman's bard.

Turley comes by his hard-driving, down-to-earth southern rock honestly: He was raised on a cattle ranch and then spent 10 years in the National Football League.

And so Turley and his four-member band accomplished what all opening acts are supposed to do but which many often fail at, which is to get the crowd ready for the main attraction, in this case Hank Williams III.

Hank III was greeted by screaming, yelling and whistling fans - just like Turley and his band left them.

Turley opened with a loud southern rocker he wrote, "Another Whiskey," which drew the small but energetic crowd to the front of stage. Outside Nakai Hall, people started lining up at the door to pay their $25.

With each song, the crowd got more energized, moving to the beat, yelling, screaming, whistling and stretching their arms into the air in a "devil's horns" salute.

The crowd couldn't have numbered more than 100, but Turley and his band played like it was a stadium full of thousands. He repeatedly thanked those who turned out for coming to the show.

In an interview after the show, he said that he learned from Hank III that all good bands begin with a small following but that the small fan base must be treated with respect.

"I'm his student," Turley said with unabashed pride.

He explained that he met Hank III backstage at a concert through a mutual friend.

"And here we are - watching and learning from the best," he said.

This is Turley's first tour. He also recently released his first recording, "Anger Management."

Many of the songs that he and his band performed at Sunday's concert are on the CD, whole title alludes to his notorious outburst while a New Orleans Saints offensive lineman.

According to an October 2009 story in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the incident occurred during a game against the New York Jets in 2001. Jets defensive lineman Damien Robinson grabbed the facemask of Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks and "bent his neck back about as far as it could go without snapping it."

Turley, whose job as lineman was to protect the quarterback, ripped Robinson's helmet off his head and threw it halfway across the football field. Then he flipped the bird for all to see.

On Sunday, Turley said the NFL sent him to anger management class afterward.

"Out of my whole football career, that is what seems to be remembered," he said, half-smiling. "But sometimes you just have to defend someone. It was a little scuffle that was overblown."

Turley closed his set with the title track, and his feelings about that long-ago scuffle came through loud and clear:

"All these pretty faces tellin' me what to do," he sang. "But they don't see the blood and they don't see the pain that I do. Yeah all you pretty faces, I'm talking to you.

"All these pretty faces keep telling me where to go. You can't go here, you can't go there, son. That helmet ain't meant to throw. Hey all you pretty faces, what the hell do you know!"

That's the rebel side of Turley. But there's also a warm-hearted side, and it's reflected in another Turley original, "Only God Knows."

When Turley introduced "Only God Knows" to the crowd Sunday, he dedicated it to his son, 1-year-old Dean, and his wife, Stacia Lee.

Turley described the song as "kind of a guide" from a father to his son.

"I want to hand down something to my son because no one knows what life will bring," he said. "I want my son to know that life doesn't have to be perfect. And so if you make a mistake, you pick yourself up and continue to strive for your goals."

He smiled and added proudly that he also has a daughter, Haley Ann, 9, from a previous marriage.

Despite his infamous lapse of decorum on the playing field, Turley has good memories of his time with the Saints and said, "I made a lot of good friends and we're still in touch."

He said he's often asked what his favorite NFL team is and so he decided to answer that question once and for all with a song, "Flyin' Helmets," which contains the following telling lyric: "I should have stayed my a** in New Orleans wearin' a fleur de lis."

Performing with Turley were band members Brad Cummings on drum, Matt Heasley on keyboard, Rob Ogles on bass, and Jason Graulich on lead guitar.

For information on Turley, go online to

For information on the Hank III tour, go to

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