AP NEWS

Country Star Josh Turner brings hits to the Paramount

May 9, 2019

Josh Turner has been in, around and on top of the country music charts since he debuted on the Grand Ole Opry in the early 2000s with his hit version of “Long Black Train.” Since then, he has found much success with other singles such as “Hometown Girl,” “Time Is Love,” “Why Don’t We Just Dance” and a great version of the Shawn Camp-penned song “Would You Go With Me?”

Now, Turner has recorded an album that he has wanted to make for a long time, a gospel recording called “I Serve A Savior.” The project features songs of faith with steel guitars and an oldschool country sound front and center. The project has hit a chord with listeners because it reached No. 1 on the Nielsen Country Album Chart and No. 2 on both the Billboard Country Chart and Gospel Chart since its release last year.

On Friday, May 10, Josh Turner and his band will return to perform at the historic Paramount Arts Center in Ashland. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. and ticket prices range from $25 to $60. More information can be found at paramountartscenter.com and 606-324-0007.

“This album has been on my list of things to do for a long time,” said Turner. “From day one when I first got my record deal, God called me to be a country singer and I wanted to establish myself in the country music market. But, recording a gospel record is something that I have always wanted to do. My fans also wanted this from me, so this was the right time. I had made a mental list of the songs that I wanted to record, so when I pulled the trigger on this album, everything kind of fell into place. It has been a fun thing to be a part of, with recording the album and making the live performance DVD with my interview with (gospel legend) Bill Gaither and my family. This past March, we also released it on vinyl, so it has been a cool thing to see come together.”

Turner came from a faith-based background and has never shied away from that aspect of his life. He is also a believer in traditional country music, going back to the music he fell in love with while growing up in his home state of South Carolina.

“I have always tried to educate people and let them know that from the dawn of country music, all of the way back to 1927 when the first country recordings ever made happened in Bristol, Tennessee, that probably one out of every three songs recorded or performed back then had something to do with faith or the Lord or how they believed,” said Turner. “It has always been interwoven into country music, and it has never been something that I have ever looked at as foreign to the genre. This album has also done really well on the Christian charts as it has been in the top five for close to 30 weeks now. It has been really cool to see it get the attention in that world as well, in addition to being in the top 10 of the country charts for over 20 weeks. And, that has happened without a single from it being played on the radio.”

His “I Serve A Savior” album features lesser-known tracks like the title cut, an original song written by Turner, his wife Jennifer and son Hampton, and “I Pray My Way Out of Trouble,” featuring bluegrass legend Bobby Osborne, along with classic gospel gems like “How Great Thou Art,” “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and “I Saw The Light.” The latter cut features a duet with the great bluegrass gospel singer Sonya Isaacs.

The album also includes some live cuts recorded in concert at Bill Gaither’s studios including “The River of Happiness,” sung with the whole Turner family, “Me and God” and his longtime hit “Long Black Train.”

Turner loves coming to this part of the world to sing for smaller-town folks who appreciate his music.

“The music industry is always changing, especially in how we get music out to people as the streaming world is pretty new and I think we are still trying to wrap our head around it, even though a lot of people are listening to music that way,” said Turner.

“As for our live shows, I have played at the Paramount in Ashland a couple of times before and I love coming up there. There are a lot of good country music fans up there and they make us feel right at home. That is what I live for, being out there in front of a crowd that appreciates what I do and is familiar with my work. It makes for a good night and it is really fulfilling and it reminds me that I am doing what I am supposed to do.”