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Josh Turner

I Serve a Savior – 2018 (MCA)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Josh Turner

When Josh Turner reaches down to sing "swing low" during "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," he has the sort of deep voice that can do this chorus's low notes justice. Turner isn't shy about his Christian faith, which makes all of these "I Serve A Savior" songs ring true. Then with this title track, Turner pours on the traditional country joy with a pedal steel beauty. The latter makes the honky tonk feel like a church or vice versa. It's just the kind of line Turner walks so well.

There's plenty to like about this album of heartfelt spiritual songs. Some, like "I Saw the Light," which also features Sonya Isaacs' vocals, comes with historic country music credentials. Turner's version of "How Great Thou Art (which also features Isaacs' harmony vocals) takes a hymn that might sound like an old warhorse in lesser hands and somehow makes it feel fresh. Turner gives us a bonus, live-in-the-studio version of "Long Black Train," which is that rare thing - a hit religious mainstream country song. Turner also reprises "Me and God," also a single released to country radio.

Unlike, say, Tim Tebow, who is an athlete that takes a lot of guff from the media for his strong Christian stand, Josh Turner is accepted without much resistance by the press for his faith. Part of his easy acceptance is likely because he's also one of the best modern country traditionalist vocalists. "I Serve A Savior" is different from Turner's other studio releases, in that it focuses solely on his spiritual side. That makes little difference, though, because it all adds up to yet another strong Turner album.