‘Punching Bag’ Josh Turner
These days, it seems as if every male country artist wants to sound like Jon Bon Jovi fronting Def Leppard in 1985 – except for Josh Turner, who might be the only million-seller left in Nashville making contemporary country albums without the slightest whiff of arena rock or pop. Turner has been called the Barry White of country music, which is true as long as you can imagine a White who has never heard of sex.
On his new album, Turner applies his gobsmacker of a baritone to some of the most well-scrubbed, Eagle Scout-straight songs since those found on his last album, which Punching Bag closely resembles. Turner is a freakishly endearing artist whose albums are nowhere near as good as he is.
They usually adhere to a familiar formula, with different versions of the same type of songs, all of which show up here: The duet with legendary but slightly less famous peers (Pallbearer, a somber, bordering on morose, ballad leavened by the presence of Iris DeMent and Marty Stuart); the Saturday-night roadhouse raver (the title track); the woo-pitcher (Find Me a Baby); the radio-friendly corn-pone love song (Good Problem).