Penned by Scooter Carusoe and Tom Douglas, “Soldier’s Gift” is the first single from Turner’s new Christmas album “King Size Manger.” The ballad paints stark scenes of the lonely Christmases that servicemen and women endure away from their families to ensure Americans are safe.
Lyrics include: Yeah, tonight there’s a soldier in a land far away|While the children listen for the bells on a sleigh| We’ve never met ‘em, names not on our list|But you’ll sleep well America, that’s the soldier’s gift.
“I was honestly baffled as to why someone hasn’t written this song before,” Turner said. “It’s a humble reminder that we are able to celebrate Christmas freely here in this country because of our men and women in uniform. I was convicted of the fact that every year throughout my life, I’ve celebrated Christmas, and I’ve kind of taken that for granted. I’m honestly baffled that somebody hasn’t written this song before.”
“Soldier’s Gift” was recorded for weeks when Turner found himself in a position where he could relate to the song.
Two decades into his country music career, the South Carolina native had managed to spend most nights with his wife, Jennifer, and children. They toured with him for years until his youngest, Hawke, 7, was born. Then Jennifer kept their sons at home. This fall, Turner was separated from his family for 16 days – the longest run of his career – while he worked and played shows. He knew he would be busy and didn’t think being away would be too hard – but he was wrong.
“It was heart-wrenching,” Turner told People. “FaceTime can only do so much. It got me thinking, I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness if I’m struggling this much and after 16 days, I can’t even imagine nine months like that.’ How, how do people survive that?”
“That’s what this song is really about,” Turner added. “When you’re there at home, and you’re celebrating, and you’re enjoying your time with family and friends, don’t forget that there’s somebody out there making that possible and keeping us safe and free.”
Turner’s days of family separation are behind him for the moment. He’s currently in the middle of his Christmas tour, and he incorporated his wife and sons into the show. For the first time in seven years, the family is touring together.
“It goes without saying, they’re a lot bigger than they used to be,” Turner said. “So that bus is a lot smaller than I remember. So, that’s been a little hairy. But we’ve made it work, and we’re out there making memories.”
Turner’s 18-city Holiday & the Hits Tour is set to conclude on Dec. 21 in Knoxville, Tennessee. He said the tour is one of the hardest things he’s ever done. But he’s thankful for the chance to do it – and for the opportunity to record his Christmas album.
“It was yet another passion project,” Turner told People. “There’s more of my thumbprint on this record than any other record I’ve ever done. The majority of the ideas were mine. And, when I talk about how much variety there is on this record, that really kind of speaks to who I am because I love all different kinds of music, as long as it’s good.”