ROLE MODELS: Josh Turner

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Growing up, my biggest musical influences were Randy Travis, Johnny Cash, John Anderson, Vern Gosdin and Hank Williams. Today, my influences have not changed.  As I listen to them now-as an adult-I understand more clearly what they were trying to accomplish and say with their music.
Influences That Stick

Growing up, my biggest musical influences were Randy Travis, Johnny Cash, John Anderson, Vern Gosdin and Hank Williams. Today, my influences have not changed.  As I listen to them now-as an adult-I understand more clearly what they were trying to accomplish and say with their music.  It is cool that they have stood the test of time and still have an impact on me.  Their music has not gotten old to me…in my opinion. I don’t think they have changed much.  In the time that I have spent with them (Randy Travis & John Anderson), they have remained consistent, and they stick to their guns and do what they do best-write and sing traditional country music.  The production might have changed, but their singing and songwriting is just as good as it has always been, if not better.

Wise Souls & Cheerleaders

My parents and my grandparents have been big influences in my life.  They have encouraged and supported me through this whole journey.  My wife Jennifer is my biggest cheerleader. My musical role model is John Anderson; he’s been there, done that.  He’s [gone from] having hits and selling records [to being] in between record deals.  He has given me valuable insight the music industry…things like save my money, do it for the right reasons and really appreciate the fans.

Wish I’d Written…

Keith Whitley’s “I’m No Stranger to the Rain.”  I do it every night in my show.

My Music Row Pick

Personally, I think Shawn Camp is really on top of his game.  He’s writing really great traditional music, but it is new and fresh.  He understands the artist side of songs because he is an artist himself.  He knows the kind of songs that singers like to sing-especially artists like myself who are traditional but trying to stay on the cutting edge.

Art vs. Commerce

If you have an artist that understands the art and the commerce side of the business, they will be the most successful…like Randy Travis, Reba McEntire, Alan Jackson, Dolly Parton or George Strait…who have been huge commercial successes.  If you have that kind of artist in the business, it makes everyone else’s job easy.  We all learn it as we go along, but if you have an artist who has that understanding, then it is the artist that narrows the gap between the two.

Favorite All-time Songwriter

Johnny Cash.

Practice Makes Perfect

Early on, I ruined my voice by singing the wrong way and went through vocal training to learn how to sing correctly, keep my voice strong and maintain it.  When you rely on your voice to make a living, you have to learn how to take care of it.   Life on the road-you’re always talking, doing interviews, liners, meet and greets and then singing…it can start to take a toll.   I always warm up before I sing.  It is not required, but I definitely recommend it.  As far as writing goes, I have a room set up in my house where I can go without any distractions, where I can let my mind actually work.  Just writing as often as you can without forcing it is a big key.  Songwriting is a discipline.  You have to keep at it.  You have to realize not every song you write is going to be a good song.  You hope you come up with a good one every now and then.

Quality Quotables

Vern Gosdin: “I am still crazy/but I am not over you,” from “I Am Still Crazy.”

Kris Kristofferson: “The beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad so I had one more for dessert/I fumbled through my clothes and found my cleanest dirty shirt,” from “Sunday Morning Coming Down.”

Roger Miller: “Pappy was a pistol/I’m a son of a gun,” from “Dang Me.”

Wish I’d Recorded…

…a Randy Travis song called “Out Of My Bones” [written by Gary Burr, Robin Lerner and Sharon Vaughn] off the You and You Alone album.



Josh Turner’s latest album, Your Man is now available online and at music stores

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