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Josh Turner – Country State of Mind album review

The superstar celebrates those that came before him on his new record.

Josh Turner
Credit: David McClister

Josh Turner is one of the few mainstream Country artists that has stayed true to his traditional Country roots. Known for big hits such as Your Man, Would You Go With Me and Why Don’t We Just Dance, Turner has been pretty prolific in the last few years with 2017’s Deep South and 2018’s faith-based collected I Serve a Savior; the latter saw Turner come to the UK to perform for the first time. Less than two years on and Turner is back with new album Country State of Mind.

Described as his ‘Mount Rushmore’, Country State of Mind is a covers collection that celebrates the artists that have inspired Turner over the years including Randy Travis, John Anderson, Johnny Cash, Vern Gosdin and Hank Williams. Across the 12 tracks there are a wealth of special guests, pairing Turner with legends and contemporary Country stars. The set opens with a cover of Keith Whitley’s I’m No Stranger to the Rain, which if you didn’t know better you’d think it was a classic of Turner’s. His deep, rich voice suits the song so well and it’s a perfect way to draw you into the record.

Seven of the tracks are collaborations. The first of these is I’ve Got It Made, featuring John Anderson who recorded the original song. The pairing is an easy one and something you notice with all the legend collaborations is just how easily Turner holds his own next to them. It’s hard enough to record covers that work, let alone record covers with the artists that originally recorded them. The stirring faith-based Why Me with Kris Kristofferson is almost like a lullaby while Forever and Ever, Amen with Randy Travis is a surefire highlight among the collection.

Of the newer collaborations Desperately, a cover of the Bruce Robison song that was later recorded by George Strait, featuring Maddie & Tae is one of the strongest. The chart-topping duo provide ample support and harmonies on the track, and it’s one of the best cuts on the record. The Southern Gothic feel of Alone and Forsaken, a Hank Williams cover, pairs Turner’s distinctive vocal with Allison Moorer’s husky tone to great effect.

Elsewhere on the record Turner’s version of Vern Gosdin’s I Can Tell By The Way You Dance is euphoric and joyous, his cover of Alan Jackson’s Midnight in Montgomery sounds like it could be a fresh hit today, and album closer The Caretaker, originally recorded by Johnny Cash, is as affecting and emotive as Cash’s version.

Country State of Mind succeeds on two levels. Firstly it’s a fantastic celebration of the artists and songs that have paved the way for modern Country music. Secondly it will introduce Turner’s fans to artists they may have never heard of or really listened to. With Country music moving in a direction that isn’t embraced by all fans of the genre, it’s pretty special to have an artist like Turner who is ensuring that the legacies of the Country pioneers that came before him are remembered and celebrated.

Josh Turner - Country State of Mind
Credit: MCA Nashville

Track list: 1. I’m No Stranger to the Rain 2. I’ve Got It Made (with John Anderson) 3. Why Me (with Kris Kristofferson) 4. Country State of Mind (with Chris Janson) 5. I Can Tell By the Way You Dance 6. Alone and Forsaken (feat. Allison Moorer) 7. Forever and Ever, Amen (with Randy Travis) 8. Midnight in Montgomery 9. Good Ol Boys (Theme from The Dukes of Hazzard) 10. You Don’t Seem to Miss Me (feat. Runaway June) 11. Desperately (feat. Maddie & Tae) 12. The Caretaker Record label: Spinefarm Records Release date: 21st August 2020 Buy Country State of Mind

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