Album Review: Josh Turner’s ‘Deep South’

The weather is getting warmer – well, wait a minute. Check that. The winter season in Tennessee has been quite warmer than usual. But still, as February becomes March, one’s attention turns to sunshine and the water. Whether it be the river, the creek bank, or the beach, there’s something about the bright ray of sunshine looking down on the water that makes for good times.

With his sixth studio album, Josh Turner delivers a project that should serve as the perfect soundtrack for those perfect spring days. In a sense, you could almost call this a concept album, as many of the songs pay tribute to life beyond the borders of the Mason-Dixon line, the pursuits of romance, and the allure of the water.

The title cut takes listeners on a ride through all things southern, setting the stage quite nicely for other tracks such as “Beach Bums,” “Southern Drawl,” and the radio-ready “Where The Girls Are.” I really think that the latter might very well be one of the biggest hits on this disc from an airplay standpoint, joining the current top-20 hit “Hometown Girl” as the best bets for success.

As is the case with any Josh Turner record, one will find an ample serving of love songs, and the South Carolina native delivers here. “All About You” and “Never Had A Reason To” both sparkle with the down-home simplicity that Turner has always specialized in. Perhaps the pick of this certain litter is the laid-back feel of the heartfelt “One Like Mine.”

The biggest departures on this album turn out to be the tracks that seem the most memorable. “Hawaiian Girl” sounds like it could very well be a Jimmy Buffett album cut, but Turner’s voice makes the song work, with his low vocal tones giving this one a heavy dose of personality. “Wonder” is a new angle for the singer, as his ballads in the past have all been straight-ahead love songs. On this track, the singer laments the break-up of a previous relationship, and asks the question “What if?’ while taking full responsibility for how things turned out. It’s a new role for the singer, and one that he handles very well.

Deep South is a celebration of all the things that Josh Turner has come to be depended on musically, and the singer doesn’t disappoint. The chances that he takes on this record show that he isn’t afraid of new challenges, sounds, or themes. Fifteen years into his career, that’s a very good place to be!