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CD Review: JOSH TURNER - Deep South

Deep South
Deep South - All About You - Hometown Girl - Beach Bums - Southern Drawl - Where The Girls Are - Never Had A Reason - Wonder - One Like Mine - Lay Low - Hawaiian Girl
I was very surprised to receive an album to review by Josh Turner, but I'm glad I did because he did a song some time ago called "That Long Black Train' which was an instant hit among our rural folks here in Iowa.  It went on to become a number one hit for Josh Turner. The first song on this new CD reminds me very much of John Anderson swingin' on the back porch.  In the case of Josh Turner it's kind of in the barn kind of fun.  He makes good sense...."We'll come back to the country and kick it back, sit and talk about my roots."  A song he wrote, and definitely does take one back to one's roots, but not quite far enough for me the president of the National Traditional Country Music Association for the past 42 years.  For me, and for hundreds of thousands, of fans who really appreciate traditional and classic country music, Josh has to take one more step back into the past to capture that same huge audience he pleased 14 years ago with that black train.  He tells us again about his rural liking in "Hometown Girl"..."She grew up around here on that southwest side, where the corn grows up to the road side."  He sure sounds like he's from Iowa doesn't he?  Actually he's a South Carolina born boy, a devout Christian, 40 years old, married to Jennifer Ford in 2003 (the same year Long Black Train hit).  Jennifer plays keyboard in his band, the "Tonkin' Honkies," and sings background vocals.  They have four sons.  Josh has a very rich attractive deep voice that stands way above the hungry-crowd of singers in country music, which sets him apart.  He's sold over 12-million records, so he's a neo-traditional power to deal with, and he keeps home, family, country, and certainly Christ in all that he does.  I found 'Deep South' an easy to listen to album, full of 'country' ideas, 'country' feelings, 'country' love, and certainly 'country' music in the neo-sense.  Josh is a fan and friend of Allen Jackson, so you know he's on the right side of country music.  It would be so neat to hear him take a step back and do something really outrageous, like maybe do a very traditional album, acoustic and all.  He's an avid bluegrass fan and player too, so that shouldn't be hard. It would be hard for me to pick a 'favorite' song on this album, they are all done incredibly well.  As an old-timer I found it really nice to be able to 'hear' all that Josh is singing about.  Well darn it, there is one song that really stands out, steel guitar and all, "Hawaiian Girl" is definitely right in there with the great artists of the past, Ferlin Husky, Lefty Frizell, Hawkshaw Hawkins, and even Jimmie Rodgers sang about "everybody does it in Hawaii." "Hawaiian Girl" is a fantastic super rendition by Josh.  There's a ton of product out there today called country music that has the lead vocal hidden deep inside the bass and drums.  Deliberately I'm afraid. That doesn't happen with Josh Turner.  Doesn't have to, he's a super good vocalist.  I will forward this great CD to the Rural Roots Music Commission for their appraisal, but unfortunately Josh is well on the road during the time frame they give out their CD of the Year awards.  I think 'Hawaiian Girl" will strike their fancy just as it does mine.  Who knows, maybe Josh will take that step back in time, and I'll get another chance to review not just 'neo' but 'real' country by him.  Those of us who loved 'the long black train' will love to hear him in that vein again.
RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART, President National Traditional Country Music Association. www.music-savers.com for Country Music News International

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