(CSC) 1. Thanks for your time! Your brand-new book “Man Stuff” gives readers an inside look at various stages of your life through mini stories. How long have you wanted to write a book like this?
It wasn’t really my intention to write a book, especially this early in my life and my career. I was approached by Thomas Nelson to do this book and it intimidated me at first but the more I thought about it, the more I got excited about it. I got motivated to do it and so it kind of went from there.
(CSC) 2. Did you have any hesitations at first in regard to sharing these personal aspects of your life with the public?
Yeah, there was some of that but most of the stories in this book were just really just kind of things that kind of shaped me and made me the man that I am. I shared little life lessons that I feel like I’ve learned from and people that I’ve learned from. It’s just different situations that I’ve been through with different experiences.
(CSC) 3. It is wonderful how you incorporated scripture passages in the book to accompany each story. Was it difficult narrowing them down to your favorites?
Not really. The hardest part was just finding the scriptures that really kind of fit the moral and the message of each of the stories. I wanted there to be some kind of a connection there; a biblical connection. That was the hardest part and sometimes we had two, three different verses to choose from so we had to choose the best one.
(CSC) 4. Your last studio album, “Punching Bag” was released in 2012. What musical direction is your next album headed, and when can fans expect to see it released?
I don’t have an exact release date but it’s probably going to be the first part of next year. We’ll obviously have a full album ready long before that but as far as musical direction, I don’t know. I didn’t really have a direction for this record. I’ve been writing for a long time for this record and this has actually been the hardest record to make because we’ve had a hard time finding great songs, whether its songs that I wrote or it be an outside song. We’ve had trouble finding that material that really gets us excited but over time we’ve come across some songs that we’ve really loved and we’ve been passionate about. So, we just let the songs kind of guide us and be the wind in our sail so to speak and they’ve come along slowly but surely. We didn’t have the liberty of having a musical direction this time (laughs) we had to take what came to us.
(CSC) 5. What’s the atmosphere of your writing cottage like and out of all the songs that you have written for the new album, which one are you most eager to share?
My writer’s cottage; it’s a log cabin. It’s got a wrap around porch. It’s got a stone fireplace; its two stories, there is no TV no phone and no WI-FI. There is nothing to really distract me from being creative; it allows me to focus on song ideas and connect with songwriters on an idea. There are a lot of personal effects in there, a lot of stuff from my career that I’ve achieved; just a lot of stuff in there that are conversation pieces, things that have stories behind them. There are things that are inspiring and motivate me to be creative.
Second Question; (Josh Turner)
We’re probably nine songs into this record right now and as far as the songs I’ve written anyway, I don’t know, there’s three songs on there right now that I’ve written and they’re all completely different from each other. There’s a song called “Wonder” and it’s kind of personal, almost autobiographical; it’s a very different song for me. I don’t think that I’ve really written a song like this song before, so I‘ll be interested to see what people think about that one.
(CSC) 6. When you think about your very first hit, “Long Black Train” and the monumental success that followed, how does the message of the song relate to you personally?
That song has been a game changer for me. It changed my life; it changed my career. It’s become my signature song. It’s always been a personal song for me, because you know obviously, I wrote it by myself. It’s affected so many people which has, for me has really expressed the power of music. I wrote the song in my room alone and the next thing you know I’m getting stories from people who have heard it, that you know, have shared with me how the song has saved their lives or changed their lives in some positive way. So, it’s been a powerful song but like I say it’s all about temptation. I think its something that anybody and everybody can relate to especially me.
(CSC) 7. Being a devoted husband and father of three young sons (soon to be four), how do you work to maintain your marriage and family life amidst being a part of show business?
We just take one day at a time first of all and then beyond that we just try to make sure we’re doing what the Lord wants us to do. Right now, traveling together as a family is what we feel like is best for us. Sometimes it can be stressful but moreover I think that’s what is best for our family, is best for my career and we’re cherishing that because we realize that its not going to last a long, long time. At least we don’t think it will, but for the moment we’re just trying to enjoy being together and experiencing the road together as a family. I feel like our children are learning a lot from that; Jennifer and I aren’t missing out on any time with them.
(CSC) 8. You mention that years back your right vocal cord was severely injured by illness. Having been put on vocal rest for a year how did that experience and healing make your vocal abilities stronger?
It was a blessing in disguise. I had no idea how things were going to work on the back end of it but you know going into it, it was pretty scary and I didn't think I would ever be able to sing again but the outcome was true. I was not only able to sing again but I was actually able to sing with a voice that turned out to be pretty special. It just became bigger and stronger and I had more control over my voice. After I had been through all the vocal lessons, the rehabilitation and the learning about how to use it, how it’s made, put together and everything; so now I like to pray over it! It was a tough journey but I made it through. I believed I could make it through so I had to find out what things were like on the other side... so I did and I'm glad that I did.
(CSC) 9. When you look back on the best and the worst year of your life (2004), how have you managed to prioritize your health and preserve your peace of mind from the distractions of everyday life since learning the hard way?
I think everybody here (Nashville) has a high stress job. I think they all kind of learn how to manage that stress and how to find people within their camp that can help them carry the load so that’s kind of what I've done. There are certain things here lately that have come along that I'm like you know what, "I can't deal with that right now, I'm gonna have to talk to such and such." It is one of those things that I just realized that the more stress I get the less creative I'm gonna be and the less effective I'm gonna be for stage and studio for the rest of my life. Taking care of myself is going to take me a long way and staying stress free is gonna help me live longer too!
(CSC) 10. Tell us about the Josh Turner Scholarship Fund, how it benefits the community and why you started it?
My wife and I started that back in October of '05 with our own money. We basically just wanted to help students in rural areas in schools that didn't have music programs or didn't have an opportunity to be a part of music and art. We realized that we weren't going to be able to affect the whole student body at one particular school, so we decided to start the scholarship fund to be able to help students that were passionate about making a living with music or art in some sort of capacity. We wanted to be able to help them go to the school of their choice so that they could actually go and major in whatever capacity of music or art that they want to. We have had at least four or five recipients already and it has been great to see these students go to college and be helped by our efforts. People can go to my website to find more about it!
(CSC) 11. I’d imagine one of the most memorable highlights of your career has to be September 29th, 2007- the night you were asked to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry by Roy Clark… What do you recall from the very first time you played (December 21st) 2001 and what does your membership mean to you now as a traditional country music artist?
Yes, playing at the Opry for the first time was a dream come true and it was obviously a pretty historic night with the two standing ovations, the encore and everything that happened that night. Then fast forwarding down the road, being asked in 2007 it was a complete shock to me. I had no idea that I was gonna be inducted into the Opry and made an official member of that family. So, with that being said, I know it was an honor and a privilege and I take that position very seriously. I try to continue to waive that country music flag and the Opry flag when I'm out away from town.
My membership means the world to me. The Opry is one of a kind and there’s no other institution like it. I'm proud that country music has a place like that. They're constantly bringing in fans and people from all across the world and they keep coming back; that's what we want, we want them to keep coming back.
(CSC) 12. Speaking of traditional country, what are your thoughts on the recent trend of country-rap songs and performances that are hitting the airwaves and award shows? Should the genre be concerned?
Yeah, I think they should be concerned a little bit because there are a lot of fans that I've talked to that don’t go for it. They’re not fans of it so I think there should be some concern there. I know they're trying to take it to a new place. Record sales and chart success, determines everything, so as long as those things are staying steady or going up, they're going to keep doing whatever that is that creates that. I've always said that real singers, great singers, great songs and musicians that are playing real instruments well… that’s never gonna’ go out of style no matter what genre you’re playing.
(CSC) 13. You’ve written and sung a song about country music icon Loretta Lynn (“Loretta Lynn’s Lincoln”) … so what’s keeping you from doing a duet with the legend herself?!?
I don't know, I never thought about it. I mean of course I'd love to. I've always loved Loretta. I don't always go into a record and think about who I could sing with, that always comes later after the songs are recorded or written and the song is begging for a certain voice or certain personality.
(CSC) 14. Would you ever consider recording a Gospel record?
I have thought about doing a Gospel record of some sort. I've been thinking about that for a while and I can't wait to get around to doing that.
(CSC) 15. Lastly, we admire your openness as a professed Christian and follower of Christ. For those who might be struggling in their faith journey, or feeling defeated, what words of wisdom would you like to share with them?
Just realize that we serve a living God and a loving God and that He's real. He cares about you! Just sink your teeth into the words of the Bible and apply that to your life because the Bible is the greatest tool that we have here on earth to help us live by. That’s one thing that I struggle with is getting into the Bible on a daily basis. I realize that that's probably still the most important thing we can do outside of just talking to Him and developing a personal relationship with Jesus.... Just keep praying and keep reading!