For many artists, finding success in country music is a slow and subtle process and it’s often hard to point to one specific moment when an artist “made it.” But for Josh Turner, the moment he went from a somewhat unknown artist to one of the most talked about new artists in country music is pretty memorable. It happened in 2001 on the famous stage of the Grand Ole Opry when the young singer performed one of his early songs, “Long Black Train,” at his Opry debut. He received a standing ovation and was called back by the audience to perform an encore of the song. With his deep voice and traditional country style, it was clear Turner had the talent necessary for a successful career in country music. After that moment, Turner went on to release multiple hit singles that helped shape the landscape of country music in the 2000s. Here are 10 of his best singles.
- “Long Black Train” — from Long Black Train
First on the list is the song that started it all for Turner: “Long Black Train.” After his high-flying moment at the Opry, Turner released “Long Black Train” as a single in 2003 from his Long Black Train album, released the same year. The song already had the momentum of his Opry debut behind it, and it did well at radio, landing at No. 13 on the US Country chart. While not one of his biggest hits, the song served to introduce Turner as a traditional artist who isn’t afraid to infuse gospel elements into his music.
2. “Your Man” — from Your Man
“Long Black Train” was a solid introduction for Turner, but his career began heating up with the release of his 2005 single “Your Man.” In this song, which is still one of Turner’s most memorable, the South Carolina native showcases his deep country twang as he sings about a particularly romantic night with a love interest. Backed by traditional country steel guitar and fiddle, Turner sings the iconic opening line, “Baby lock them doors and turn the lights down low,” which sets the course for the rest of the song. The song was a smash for Turner, landing at No. 1, earning 3x Platinum status, and blazing a trail for other hits to follow.
3. “Would You Go With Me” — from Your Man
Turner followed up “Your Man” with “Would You Go With Me,” another single from the Your Man album. Turner’s voice lends itself well to country love songs, and “Would You Go With Me” was another example of this. While “Your Man” is more of a slow-moving tune, “Would You Go With Me” employs a bluegrass element with quick picking banjo and dobro. In the song, Turner asks a love interest if she’d “go” with him as he paints a picture of all the places they would go. “Would you accompany me to the edge of the sea / Let me know if you’re really a dream / I love you so, so would you go with me,” he sings in the chorus. The song was Turner’s second consecutive No. 1 single and was certified 2x Platinum. The song was also nominated for Male Country Vocal Performance at the Grammy Awards.
4. “Me and God” — from Your Man
For his third and final single from Your Man, Turner released another faith-based song called “Me And God.” This song takes influence from the Southern gospel culture he grew up around in South Carolina, sounding almost like a hymn that could be heard at a church service. In the tune, Ralph Stanley joins Turner for vocals and banjo accompaniment as they sing the reverent tune about praying to God. Mandolin, fiddle and soft percussion round out the song’s instrumentals. “Me And God” landed at No. 16 on the charts and further established Turner as an artist who sticks to his traditional, low-country roots.
5. “Firecracker” — from Everything Is Fine
In 2007, Josh Turner kicked off his third album, Everything Is Fine, with a bang — literally — with the release of “Firecracker.” In this fast-paced, tongue-in-cheek song that begins with a low-pitched “Yeah” from Turner in the intro, the singer describes loving his woman being akin to witnessing a firecracker. The song is peppered with clever references to firecrackers and fire as he sings, “We’re a match made in heaven, and it ain’t no joke, but I’d sure I hate to see it go up in smoke / We got a good thing going, and it feels so right / She’s a firecracker, she’s the light of my life,” he sings. “Firecracker” brought Turner close to the top of the charts again, landing at No. 2.
Josh Turner releases many upbeat, feel-good tunes, but his soulful voice also works for more solemn songs. In “Another Try,” one of the few heartbreak songs Turner released to radio, he is joined by Trisha Yearwood as he sings about regretting how a relationship ended and promising he’ll do better should love come around again. The song features slow country instrumentals and the harmony added Yearwood in the chorus only adds to the track’s longing feeling. The tune landed at No. 15 on the charts, but it served to showcase another side of the country artist.
7. “Why Don’t We Just Dance” — from Haywire
In 2009, Turner turned the tempo up once again with “Why Don’t We Just Dance,” the lead single from his Haywire album. The single showcases a bit a musical evolution for Turner, but the track is still plenty country with its fiddle instrumentation and bouncy tempo that is ready for a country line dance. The track serves as another fun tune from Tuner as he sings about dancing with his partner “down the hall” and “straight up the stairs.” “Why Don’t We Just Dance” brought Turner back into hit territory, landing at No. 1 and being certified 2x Platinum.
8. “All Over Me” — from Haywire
Turner released yet another country hit to radio with “All Over Me,” which came out in 2010 from his Haywire album. This song features production that is slightly more modern than his previous singles with electric guitar and piano, but it still includes banjo and other country elements. In the tune, Turner sings about a perfect summer day driving around and spending time at the river. The song was written by The Peach Pickers, which consists of Rhett Akins, Dallas Davidson, and Ben Hayslip. “All Over Me” became Turner’s fourth No. 1 hit.
9. “Time Is Love” — from Punching Bag
In 2012, Turner released “Time Is Love,” a single that would become one of his essential songs alongside hits such as “Your Man” and “Why Don’t We Just Dance.” Released as the lead single from his album, Punching Bag, “Time Is Love” is an upbeat tune in which Turner sings about the importance of spending time with his loved one. “Time is love, gotta run / Love to hang out longer but I got someone who waits, waits for me and right now she’s where I need to be / Time is love, gotta run,” he sings in the chorus. The song, while musically evolved form his earlier singles, still showcased Turner’s country sound and landed at No. 2.
10. “Hometown Girl” — Deep South
In 2017, Turner released his Deep South album, and for the second single from the album, he released “Hometown Girl.” In this song, Turner describes the kind of girl he’s looking for, which is a “pretty little homegrown hometown girl.” He also describes her as an “old soul” and the “salt of the earth,” noting that “There’s a lot of pretty girls out there to me, but there’s nothing like the one right across the street.” The song was another hit for Turner, peaking at No. 2 on the Country Airplay chart. “Hometown Girl” was the second to last single Turner released to country radio.