“I love fighting for my music. I'm out there trying to make a positive impact on people in any kind of way I can and I like music that makes you think.” Josh Turner
American country music singer-songwriter Josh Turner burst on the country scene in 2003 with the Top 20 single “Long Black Train,” taken from his platinum-selling debut album of the same name. Penned after listening to a Hank Williams box set, the song subsequently brought Turner national media attention as well as two Inspirational Country Music Awards. Turner, who has a very distinctive bass voice, acquired even more success with his second studio album, “Your Man” (2006). Thanks to the No. 1 hit singles “Your Man” and “Would You Go with Me,” the album was certified double-platinum by RIAA. For his work on the album, the MCA Nashville artist picked up a number of nominations, most notably two Grammy nominations. His most recent album, the impressive “Everything Is Fine,” was released in October 2007. Turner wrote or co-wrote seven songs on the album, including the first track “Firecracker,” a No. 5 hit single on the US Country chart. He has stated that his music is highly influenced by John Anderson and the pioneer of bluegrass music, Ralph Stanley.
Six years after he sang “Long Black Train” on the Opry stage, Turner became a member of the prestigious Grand Ole Opry. He was formally introduced by one of his Idols, Vince Gill.
“I'm in a great place. I've already done so many things that I never thought I'd ever be able to do. I dreamed of coming up here and getting a record deal and singing for a living, but I didn't know what all would go along with it.” Josh Turner
The 6' 1” artist is a devout Christian, so he asked his wife Jennifer Ford to star with him in the romantic video music for his hit single “Your Man.” He stated that it would have been very embarrassing if anyone else had played the role. Meeting at Nashville's Belmont University, Turner married Jennifer in 2003 and in 2006, their son Hampton was born. On his son, he said, “He recognizes my voice and loves music. My wife and I both sing to him a lot and he is a music lover and it soothes him.”
The hazel-eyed, brown-haired handsome musician established The Josh Turner Fund for the Arts. It is a non-profit organization that promotes music in schools. In his free time, Turner enjoys hunting and fishing.
Childhood and Family:
Joshua Otis Turner was born on November 20, 1977, in Hannah, South Carolina. Growing up with church, he developed a passion for music by singing the bass and baritone parts in his church choir. He was educated at Hannah-Pamplico High School in Hannah, South Carolina, and then at Francis Marion University in Florence, South Carolina, in which he took private piano lessons. After moving to Nashville, he transferred to Belmont University where he studied vocal performance. It was also in Belmont that Josh met Jennifer Ford, whom he married on June 14, 2003. Jennifer also plays piano and provides backup vocals for Josh's road band. On October 6, 2006, the couple welcomed their first child, son Hampton Otis Turner.
Long Black Train
“Growing up, I was always adept to male singers with baritone or bass voices. As a young boy, I would go around mimicking the bass parts that our church men's quartet would sing.” Josh Turner
Josh Turner started singing the bass and baritone parts in a number of choirs in his local area of Hannah, South Carolina. He also founded a gospel quartet called Thankful Hearts where he sang bass and the occasionally lead. As a teenager, he knew he wanted to pursue a career in music after seeing Randy Travis. At a church benefit, Turner sang Randy's 1986 No. 1 hit, “Diggin' Up Bones” and audience was charmed by his performance. “Everybody thought they were just playing Randy's version of it and I was lip-synching. They were just going crazy over it.” Turner recalls.
After high school, he took piano lessons, but in 1996, he was forced to rest his voice for a year due to problems with his right vocal cord. During that year, he learned classical vocal techniques and how to take care of his voice. As soon as he recovered, Turner headed to Nashville to professionally launch his musical career.
Turner's first break arrived on December 21, 2001, when he made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry singing a song he had written himself called “Long Black Train.” In the middle of the song, he gained a standing ovation and then sang it again for an encore. A month later, he landed a recording deal with MCA Nashville. Recalling the event, he said, “I sang a song I wrote called 'Long Black Train.' I was on cloud nine standing there singing a song of mine, standing where Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, Ernest Tubb, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline and Roy Acuff had stood. All of a sudden, people started standing up and cheering. I wasn't even through with the song yet! I had two more verses and a chorus to go. By the end of the song, everybody was on their feet. I was in awe; just in shock.”
Turner released his debut album, “Long Back Train,” in 2003. Before the album’s release, he has issued 7” vinyl singles of “She'll Go On You” and “Long Black Train.” Both singles had the “Long Black Train” album track “Backwoods Boy” on the B-side. While “Backwoods Boy” and “She'll Go On You” were not successful, “Long Black Train” slowly began to climb the charts. “Long Black Train” reached No. 13 on Billboard's US Country chart and stayed on the chart for over 40 weeks. The second single, “What It Ain't,” was considered less flourishing since it failed to reach the Top 30. Thanks to the success of the title track “Long Black Rain,” the album, which was produced by Frank Rogers, received platinum certification from RIAA by the end of 2004 and Turner won two Inspirational Country Music awards for Song of the year and Songwriter. On the song, he said, “It's old-timey. It sounds like 1940's gospel music but I started playing it for people and they went crazy over it. It blew my mind. That song has opened so many doors for me. I'm glad it's the first single on the album because it expresses my country upbringing and my Christian heritage.”
In early 2006, Turner released his sophomore effort, “Your Man,” which reached No. 1 on Billboard's US Country Album Chart and No. 2 on the US 200. Released in late 2005, the albums' first single and title track, “Your Man,” climbed the charts slowly and became No. 1 by early 2006. He went on to score a No. 1 country hit with the second song, “Would You Go with Me,” (2006) and remained in the first position for two weeks. The album also produced a song called “Me and God,” featuring Ralph Stanley. It was a success on the Christian country music circuit and became a Top 20 hit on the US Country chart. The “Your Man” album gained double-platinum certification in 2006. For his effort, Turner was handed two Grammy nominations in 2007 in the categories of Best Male Country Vocal Performance for the song “Would You Go With Me” and Best Country Album. Other nominations included a CMA nomination for Male Vocalist of the Year, three ACM nominations for Single Record of the Year and Song of the Year (“Would You Go With Me”) as well as Vocal Event of the Year (“Me and God”).
“Everything Is Fine,” Turner's third studio album, was released on October 30, 2007, and went on to peak at No. 3 on the US Country chart. The album includes “Firecracker,” which rose to No. 5 on the Billboard US Country chart, “Another Try,” a duet with country superstar Trisha Yearwood, “Nowhere Fast,” a collaboration with praised Grammy nominated R&B singer Anthony Hamilton, a cover of George Jones' classic “One Woman Man,” and the sentimental tracks “The Longer the Waiting” and “Soulmate.” Turner wrote (or co-wrote) seven songs on the album.
In addition to working on his own albums, Turner also has contributed to records by other artists. In early 2007, he co-wrote a single for Big Machine Records recording artist Dusty Drake called “Say Yes.” The song was co-penned with veteran songwriters Don Schlitz and Brett James. Other singles he has contributed to include “Tears of God,” “In My Dreams,” “First Noel” and “Softly and Tenderly.”
Inspirational Country Music: Song of the Year, “Long Black Train,” 2004
Inspirational Country Music: Songwriter, 2004