My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Album Review: Josh Turner – ‘Deep South’

After numerous delays, Josh Turner fans finally have a new album to listen to, nearly five years after the release of his previous effort Punching Bag. Deep South, produced by Turner’s longtime producer Frank Rogers, arrived last week.

The current climate at country radio is a difficult one for traditional-based artists. MCA was reluctant to release the album until they were sure they had a hit single on the charts. As a result, I awaited this release with some trepidation, expecting it to be a compromise to the demands of the label and radio and not necessarily the album Josh would make if left to his own devices. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what it sounds like, although after learning that Turner wrote or co-wrote five of the album’s elven songs, it’s difficult to say for sure exactly where the blame lies.

The underperforming lead single, 2014’s “Lay Low”, which climbed to #28 sounds like a bland Keith Urban song,and the follow-up single about a “pretty little homegrown Hometown Girl”, currently residing at #10 on the charts is a similarly trite effort. I recognize that songs like this are a necessary evil for artists to get on the radio so that their albums can be released. But I do expect that when the album eventually appears that there will be some deeper cuts, and that is where Deep South falls short. The Turner-penned title track is a funky-sounding list of cliches about Southern life — fried chicken, back roads,et al. “All About You”, another Turner composition, is much the same, with the word “girl” used gratuitously throughout the song. “Southern Drawl” combines the southern life and hot chick themes:

She’s as pretty as South Georgia peaches
And as hot as any Tennessee June
She’s a treasure underneath that Carolina kudzu
She still outshines a Mississippi moon
When she walks into a room

Her kiss sure drives me crazy
I melt when she says my name
Just one touch can make this old heart sing
But it ain’t the blue sky in her blue eyes
It ain’t good looks at all
It’s the way she says I love you that makes me fall, y’all
In that sweet, soft, slow southern drawl

I was bored by most of this album, which would have put me right to sleep in the hands of a less capable vocalist. It’s disappointing that after a five-year gap between albums that Turner apparently has so little to say. These songs are shallow, dull and cliche-ridden. It wasn’t until the final track “Hawaiian Girl” that I found a song that I could truly enjoy. It’s not deep either, but it has a throwback sound with plenty of pedal steel and is at least a change of pace.

I’ve long maintained that Josh Turner was a gifted artist who was continually let down by less than stellar material. Deep South unfortunately does nothing to change that assessment and if anything, is a big step in the wrong direction.

Grade: C+

3 responses to “Album Review: Josh Turner – ‘Deep South’

  1. Alan Jobe March 28, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    While this isn’t the best Josh Turner cd he’s released, I liked it more than Razor X did. But then, I’ve never had a problem with middle-of-the-road country (see my many posts on Crystal Gayle for more of that).

    I agree that the first half of the cd sounds a lot like mild Bro-Country. But I absolutely loved Lay Low when it was released. To me, it’s just such a mellow relaxing song. The lyrics are typical of a Josh Turner song as well.

    Additionally, I love One Like Mine where he talks about how rare it is to find the right woman who will complete a man. It’s a nice toe-tapping song that I hope will be sent to radio. Another highlight is the beautiful Never Had A Reason where he talks about how much better his life is now that he’s found the right woman and isn’t single and lonely anymore. Hawaiian Girl is a fun song and a nice way to end the cd.

    Again, it isn’t the best JT cd but after such a long wait, it’s nice to hear that voice again with some new music. Hopefully next time, he’ll get to do the cd the way he wants to.

    • Luckyoldsun March 28, 2017 at 8:22 pm

      Next time?
      At the rate Josh–and other artists–are going, “next time” will be in Trump’s second term (or someone else’s first)! lol.

    • Razor X March 28, 2017 at 9:35 pm

      Middle of the road doesn’t bother me so much but this album is very dull and unoriginal.

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