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Josh Turner is the man

By Jeffrey B. Remz, January 2006

Josh Turner's second album has been a long time coming, a good 2 1/2 years since "Long Black Train" came out.

Now that could be considered rather surprising because Turner had a hit off his debut with the title track, which became controversial for its video treatment.

But Turner says in a telephone interview from his Nashville home that the wait for "Your Man," out in late January, resulted from a bunch of alterations, mainly on the business side.

"A lot of things happened between the first and second record, mainly just making some changes within my organization," he says. "I changed management, I changed booking agent, I changed fan club president. I changed my band and my merchandise guy, just one position after the other."

"I was really trying to surround myself with people who had a passion for Josh Turner music," he says.

Without explaining the exact problem he had with those replaced, Turner says, "A lot of the people that I had surrounding me just did not have a passion for my music...They had a passion for other things, a passion that I didn't share with them, so I was really looking for people who believed in me."

"I think that's really paying off for me for me right now. Things have been so much more organized and more stable when I got all of those people in place and then, of course, the label was wanting me to go ahead and get started on the new record."

Turner did not exactly rush through recording studio sessions and get the music out.

"The funny thing is I started recording this album before Thanksgiving of '04," he says. "So, it's been a little while making this record, but I'm really excited about this record and the journey I've been on to get to this point."

"I'm so much more less stressed at this point in my career. I'm glad that I took the time. I'm glad I'm able to put out a new record, and I'm glad the single's (the title track) getting the attention it's getting...The video is out and getting a lot of good comments, good attention and good press."

A second album is often a huge deal career-wise for an artist because the singer can either move ahead or perhaps fade into music oblivion.And Turner made it clear he's looking to go onward and upward.

"I wanted to make a record that just really blew people away. I wanted to make a record that just sounded different and just came from a place that knocked people on their butt really. I wanted to make a great traditional country album."

The 28-year-old describes his music as "honest. I don't pretend to be somebody that I'm not. I don't pretend to sing songs that I don't understand. I sing about songs that I can relate to...I wanted to have that traditional country sound regardless of how fresh that it sounds or new or contemporary it sounds. I wanted to have those traditional aspects because that's where I come from. My heart is in traditional music, bluegrass and gospel."

There is no mistaking the music on "Your Man" for anything but country. While others in country may favor more of a pop sound, Turner along with producer Frank Rogers, Brad Paisley's producer, kept it firmly rooted in country as evidenced by echoes of Don Williams, John Anderson, and his idol, Randy Travis in the mix. He also puts a bluegrass tinge to the music plus a slight soulful/funky twist.

Turner also isn't afraid to tackle personal, religious themes either.

Turner says he received sage advice from country elder statesman Eddy Arnold in making the album.

"I wanted to have a whole lot more love songs on the record," Turner says. "That advice actually came from Eddy Arnold believe it or not. I've gotten to know him in the past few years. One of the things he always told me was to record love songs. He expressed to me that there's no better way to relate people across the country than to sing about a relationship between a man and a woman. I took his advice. It seems to be paying off. The first example is 'Your Man.' The public is really really loving that, loving what it says."

Rogers brought the song to Turner, even though it had yet to demoed, a process whereby a singer will record the song to enable it to be pitched to recording artists.

Turner says Rogers told him to "just tell me what you think of it. I don't know if this is what I want to do, but I sat down and played it with my guitar (and) realized we could make this a Josh Turner song."

"That was the last song we recorded, and the magic happened. It turned out great. It sounded like the perfect mesh of a Don Williams and a Temptations song, that funky 'My Girl' kind of thing to it and also had a "I Believe in You' Don Williams thing to it. It was a really cool mix of musicality."

Turner recorded Williams' "Lord Have Mercy on a Country Boy" along with Anderson's "Baby's Gone Home to Mama," a song on his 2001 disc, "Nobody's Got It All."

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