Country Music People December 2018 - Page 52

Because of the type of record it is, I Serve A Savior has afforded Turner the chance to make a more traditional sounding album. “I think this record has afforded me the opportunity to kind of go after the production and the sound that I’ve managed to create. My number one priority was that I was presenting my heart…,” he diplomatically says. The title track is not only a stunning and powerful new song, it’s also very country indeed. “Yeah, I’m really proud of that. That’s actually a song that I wrote with Mark Narmore back in 2016, when I was still working on my Deep South record and had no knowledge of this project. So when it came time for me to make this gospel record I was thinking back to the songs I had written myself and that was the first song I came across. When I heard it I was thinking that was perfect for this record, and as I was compiling songs for the record I just kept going back to that title and realised that that had to be the album title. “I knew that it wasn’t really a song for the Deep South record. It didn’t really fit in to what that record was about. When I sat down to write it with Mark, my intention was to really write a modern day hymn. I feel like that’s what I accomplished with that. It was the perfect title track for this record.” Another notable track on the new record is a version of Without Him, a song that was on the great Elvis Gospel album How Great Thou Art. “That’s actually my favourite hymn,” admits Turner. “I came to know it when I was in high school and I reached out to three other guys, close to my same age, in my church, and we started a Gospel quartet called Thankful Hearts. Without Him is one of those songs that we did and it’s always left an impression on me. It’s been my favourite hymn ever since. Back then I didn’t know anything about the fact that Elvis had recorded the song, I didn’t know the story behind the song, in the last four years I’ve come to know the writer of the song and really kind of built into the background of this hymn, why it was in the hymn 52 cmp - DECEMBER 2018 books, how Elvis came to record it and all of that kind of stuff. It’s just made me love the song even more. That was the one song I knew I had to put on this record. “ The live tracks on the new album are so beautifully recorded, if it wasn’t for the applause at the end you’d be forgiven for thinking they were studio cuts. Turner laughs at the suggestion and says, “Yeah, I felt like that day really happened the way that it should have. We went up to the Gaither Studios and filmed the DVD portion of this project, and that’s also out there for the fans. They can see this 90 minute performance and interview that I did with Bill Gaither. I had most of the studio musicians that day and it just turned out really well and I’m very proud of it.” In the past, just about all country artists would release a Gospel album at some point in their career, some even releasing more than one. “I don’t exactly know why that shift has occurred but it seems like it has,” Turner posits. “I think it’s personal reasons, I think it’s commercial reasons, I think it’s a variety of things… I’ve always wanted to do a record like this, and I was going to do a record like this at some point, I’m just glad that it happened now.” The stunning Long Black Train is the song that first introduced us to Josh Turner and since day one we’ve always known a Gospel album was on the cards. Reflecting on his career so far Turner says, “I feel like I’ve grown a lot since my first record, as a writer, as a singer, I know my way around a studio a whole lot better than I did back then, but the honesty is still there. That’s something that I don’t feel like I’ve lost throughout my career. If you put me in the right situation and the right circumstances I’m gonna record honest music and that’s been my goal from day one and hopefully I’ll have a lot more years left of doing that.” Josh Turner: I Serve A Savior is out now. cmp