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From the Country Standard Time Archives

Josh Turner keeps 'em smiling

Tequila's Bar and Grill, Danvers, Mass., Feb. 4, 2004

By Maxine MacPherson

DANVERS, MA - From the minute Josh Turner said hello to the audience at the sold-out house, he had the crowd smiling. His deep resonant voice surprised many, coming from his slight, under six-foot frame. He introduced himself with the song "Backwoods Boy," telling the audience that this was the story about his own growing up in Hannah, S.C.

He's come a long way since then, having recorded one CD, "The Long Black Train," with the album and title song both moving up the charts.

He launched into his first and only hit for the second song of the night, which got the audience clapping and tapping along. Turner sang most of the songs on the CD, including "In My Dreams" his first song to hit the radio several years ago, but it failed to go anywhere. He also sang the clever, funny tune "What It Ain't" about looking back at lost love through a broken-heart.

The crowd gave Turner an enthusiastic applause for these songs, but the real cheers came with his versions of Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line" and Randy Travis' "Diggin' Up Bones." The similarity between Turner's voice and the voices of these performers was uncanny. Close your eyes during both songs, and you could almost imagine them up on stage. These songs gave the audience the chance to fully appreciate Turner's baritone and the range of his vocal talent.

But Turner needs to work on making his performance smoother and develop a little more audience patter. Long silent periods between songs as he and Clint Chandler (guitar, background vocals) switched keys and retuned, were filled with good-natured heckling from the audience and requests for him to turn around and show his "flip side" to several young women.

After about an hour and a half, Turner reprised the "Long Black Train," this time bringing the crowd to their feet, clapping and singing along to close the concert.