Josh Turner's 'Long Black Train' nears platinum
Give a listen to a few songs from country singer Josh Turner's debut CD "Long
Black Train" and you might find yourself double-checking to see if a Randy Travis disc sneaked its way in there.
Turner's natural, deep baritone on "Train," released on the MCA/Nashville
label, sounds like a near-match to Travis'.
But the sonic similarity, along with Turner's gospel roots and sense of humor,
has served his career well: "Train" debuted in October 2003, sold more than 500,000 copies before the year ended, and is now
close to breaking the million-copies-sold mark
In 2001, Turner made his debut at age 24 at the Grand Ole Opry, where he
chose to sing "Long Black Train."
As Turner put it, he and the song received an "unforgettable" reception.
"It was totally unexpected," he said. "I got two standing ovations and an
He was signed to MCA/Nashville about a month later and he's since been invited
to play at the Opry more than 40 times
Turner makes no secret of his Christian background. He learned music while
growing up as a member of a Baptist congregation in Hannah, N.C. He sees his current career as a way to make Christianity
seem not only acceptable in mainstream music, but an attractive alternative to the tempting lifestyle of excess he sings against
For me," Turner said, "I want to spread a message of hope -- that you can
play country music and be cool, and still be a Christian and be cool, and people won't look at you like you're strange, or
make fun of you."
Turner said he loves life on the road and it's an essential part of connecting
His home life is helped by the fact that he doesn't have to cope with a long-distance
relationship while on tour.
"My wife (Jennifer) has been able to come on the road with me, singing background
vocals every night when we play," he said
© 2004 Kalamazoo. Used with permission