"There's victory in the Lord, I say/Victory in the Lord/Cling to the Father and His holy name/And don't go ridin' on that Long Black Train"
— from "Long Black Train"

Like most musical genres, country has been in a creative drought, unable to break successful new talent or generate many gold records with anyone other than best-sellers like Shania Twain or Alan Jackson. Then in 2003, along comes a young talent from Hannah, South Carolina, by the name of Josh Turner. In remarkably short time, this 26-year-old has become one of the most promising new stars in country music, selling more than 500,000 copies of Long Black Train since its October 2003 release.

Two interesting details make this success even more interesting. One is Turner's classical approach to country. After a decade of pop-influenced country music from the likes of Twain, Faith Hill, and Garth Brooks, here's an artist with a heart for more traditional sounds. Stylistically, Turner is like a modern-day Hank Williams or Johnny Cash, and his baritone vocal is oft compared to Randy Travis.

Then there's the songwriting. Turner only wrote or co-wrote three songs on Long Black Train, including the title track, his first single and a runaway #1 smash hit. It's been on the Radio && Records chart longer than any other country single in the history of country music. Especially reminiscent of classic Cash, the song clearly stems from Turner's Christian faith, lyrically in step with Southern gospel. Country music has always had ties to gospel, but it's rare when such artists are so forthright about sin and salvation.

The title refers to devil-engineered allure of temptation, "Makin' you wonder if the ride is worth the pain/He's just awaitin' on your heart to say/Let ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Tags:
Posted: