In just 10 years since the release of his signature song, “Long Black Train,” country music artist and devoted Christian Josh Turner has gone from taking his first tentative steps into the music industry to topping the charts with full steam ahead.
Now, five studio albums and 11 singles later, Turner is a double-platinum selling singer and songwriter, as well as one of the youngest members to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. He’s also on this summer’s season lineup for the SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre.
Turner is currently touring the country to promote his latest album, “Punching Bag,” and will hit the SCERA stage on Tuesday for a concert he said he hopes will make a difference in the lives of the people who come out.
“My hope for an audience take-away is always the same ... that they would feel better about themselves and life in general after the show than before it started,” he said in an email interview.
According to Turner, his interest in singing professionally started when he was young, and grew out of that desire to lift others.
“I sang ‘Diggin’ Up Bones’ by Randy Travis in front of a small crowd at an event at my church when I was 13 years old,” Turner said. “The audience response was something I’d never experienced, but I knew it was something I wanted a lot more of. As I got older, I realized I could positively influence legions of people via my music and the talent God has given me. That’s what made me want to do it for a living.”
Turner’s latest album, which was released a year ago this month, is true to the traditional sound and style of country music, and packed with a variety of ballads, laments and exciting melodies that will be featured in Tuesday’s concert.
“The main inspiration behind my ‘Punching Bag’ album was the message in the title track,” he said. “Life has a way of throwing us all punches, but we have to be strong enough and resilient enough to take those punches and keep moving forward.”
Also set into the concert agenda are hits such as “Firecracker,” “Why Don’t We Just Dance,” “Time is Love,” “Would You Go With Me” and “Your Man.”
According to SCERA president and CEO Adam Robertson, the plan to bring Turner to the SCERA’s season had been in the works for several years before things finally clicked into place.
“We’ve tried to get him a couple times but it didn’t work out,” Robertson said. “It’s really worked this time and we’re excited. ... He’s a great entertainer with a deep voice and it promises to be a wonderful show.”
Robertson said one of the reasons the SCERA sought after Turner is because of the values he holds, and the wide popularity of country music in the area.
“I think what people connect to in county music is that it usually has a connection to family, God or country,” he said. “Country artists have come and gone, and people really seem to connect to their music and enjoy the storytelling of it.”
Turner is a proud Christian and family man with wholesome music that is not only catchy, but fun for the whole family — something entirely in line with the goals the SCERA has for its performances.
“What we hope for all of our concerts is that people will come with their families and have an enjoyable and entertaining experience,” Robertson said. “The SCERA always strives to be family friendly. We really work hard at making it an environment where you can bring your family and you don’t have to worry about what’s on the stage, in concert or on the big screen. Whatever you come to do here at the SCERA is going to be suitable for you and your family.”