Country Star Josh Turner Dishes On Faith, Family And His Biggest Accomplishment

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When Josh Turner first arrived on the country music scene debuting his 2003 album “Long Black Train” after having a vision back in college, he never could have imagined the almost overnight sensation he would soon become.  Today, the country music artist known for his distinctive deep voice has sold more than five million albums and accumulated over one billion lifetime audio streams.

Turner has also garnered nods from the Academy of Country Music, Country Music Association, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Grammy Awards), and the Inspirational Country Music Association. Right now, he is reveling in the success from his sixth studio album “Deep South” which topped the charts as a Billboard No. 1 release with hits like his number one hit “Hometown Girl.” Turner will be playing at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium in Massachusetts on November 1.

Josh TurnerPhoto Credit: Josh Turner

We caught up recently with the South Carolina native to discuss faith, family and his biggest accomplishment.

You have said you have had a calling since a very young age to sing country music. Can you elaborate on that?

I started playing when I was four or five years old singing in church. From a very early age, my parents recognized I had a talent for singing. When I turned 13, that was the first time I sang a country song in front of a crowd and the response wasn’t anyting I ever felt before. When I turned 17, I started playing guitar and writing songs and started thinking of my future. The Lord made it very clear this was doable if I wanted it.

When you were 20 years old, you injured your vocal chord and were told you might never sing again, but with proper training your voice got deeper and even better. How did that experience change your life?

That was a huge turning point in my life. I literally thought I was done. It was devastating because you put all your chips in and when I lost my voice, that threw me in a tailspin. Ironically, that was my first trip to Nashville for vocal therapy. I had to start classical training and when I did move to Nashville for school, I had to work through my physical problem, learn the anatomy of my voice and how to take care of it. That led to my voice getting healthier. It was truly a blessing.

Your Christian faith has been an integral part of your music. Who have been some of your role models in life?

Probably too many to count. My grandparents and parents have had huge influences on me and who I have become.

Josh TurnerPhoto Credit: Josh Turner

Musically, who has inspired you along the way?

My musical heroes are John Anderson, Randy Travis, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and Vern Gosdin, who I refer to as the Mount Rushmore of Country Music. I have come to know John personally and he has been a mentor of mine. He has taught me to be myself, discover my own style and just be me.

You have been a member of the Grand Ole Opry for more than 10 years now. How did it feel when you were first inducted?

I thought it was a mistake (laughs). I felt they were giving it to me too early, but beyond that, it was an extreme honor. Everyone there always treated me like family, so to be recognized professionally was one of my greatest accomplishments.

How has the Nashville scene changed since you first arrived in 1998?

It has changed several times. When I came along, I was on the radio with artists I great up with. I slowly watched radio abandon them. When I talk to the general public, people seem disinterested in country radio. For me, everything sounds the same and I don’t know who’s who. I have been very fortunate radio always finds a place for my music.

Josh TurnerPhoto Credit: Josh Turner

Tell us about the inspiration and vision you had behind “Long Black Train.”

I was studying at Belmont University and was listening to Hank Williams. I had to leave the library and walk to my apartment and it was really dark. I had a vision of a wide open space and seeing a train track running down the middle and a train goes running down the track. I tried to figure out what it all means, and then I figured out the train was a metaphor for temptation. I sat down with my guitar and wrote three verses and the next day I wrote the rest. Unbeknownst to me, it would become my signature song. I never thought that would happen.

Do you think technology has helped to make country music more mainstream?

Yes. With technology, you can reach more people. It can also become too saturated in the market as people obtain music in different forms. It’s so different than the way it used to be when you would go to Walmart and buy a record. Now, you can listen to pieces of a song online and buy a song or two.

A few years ago, you wrote a book Man Stuff: Devotional Thoughts on Family, Faith and Fatherhood. How do you balance your success with being a dad to your four boys?

I try to take one day at a time. I am home right now from a two-week long trip. When I am home, I spent as much time as I can with my wife and kids.

What’s up next for you?

I have a gospel record “I Serve A Savior” coming out next month. I have played the title track on the road and people love it.

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