With the hectic success of a number one hit, a date on a national television show and an upcoming tour opening for Alan Jackson, country baritone Josh Turner’s philosophy for the moment is actually pretty simple: focus on love and happiness.
“At the moment I’m just trying to help people forget their troubles and the bad news of the world,” remarked Turner, whose current hit “Why Don’t We Just Dance” is an upbeat distraction epitomizing his personal philosophy. “We need to get back to the important things like love and happiness.”
Turner, whose voice is startlingly deep in person, has lots of reasons to focus on love and happiness: his wife and family get to travel with him on tour, as his wife plays piano in the band and sings backup vocals. They’ll all be together starting April 8 when Turner goes on the road with Alan Jackson’s Freight Train tour.
“We’re very excited about it,” Turner said. “We had a few dates with him last year but it wasn’t an official tour for us. This time it’s 15 – 20 dates with him, with press and publicity and the whole nine yards. With Alan Jackson. It’s unreal, man, amazing.”
Turner had another “crazy” time recently when he performed on The Late Show with David Letterman. He said the atmosphere on set was “rush rush, kinda crazy,” and that the studio itself was much smaller than it looks on television and than he had imagined.
“It was wild playing there in person,” he said, “knowing all the other acts who’ve played there over the years and how we’ve grown up watching it. You have a certain way you think of that set, imagine it in your mind, but really it’s way smaller and older.”
Turner was launched to fame in 2001, he said, when his manager at the time convinced the general manager of the Grand Ole Opry to let the young man with the rumbling voice have a shot on stage.
“He begged and pleaded,” Turner said, his laughter like approaching thunder. “I got to sing one song, late on a Friday night right before Christmas.”
That one song, turns out, was “Long Black Train,” and it was an instant success. And so was Turner, who wrote that song and still writes about half of the ones he sings.
“I have to carve out time for songwriting. I really enjoy it and have to work at it.”
In the meantime Turner is gearing up for the Freight Train tour with his band, who he said is “like a family” to him.
“We lean on each other, definitely,” the singer said. “We help and encourage each other, and they try to keep me a normal person. Having my own family there definitely helps keep me grounded. I can’t wait to go on tour with Alan, but it’s getting back home with my family that I look forward to the most, spending time with them when I can, loving life while doing my thing, doing what I love. Cause that’s what it’s all about, right?”