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Long Black Train

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Album Review

The centerpiece of this debut album by South Carolina native Josh Turner is its lead track, the traditional-sounding "Long Black Train," which could be a country gospel song out of the 1940s. Penned by Turner, the song rolls death, temptation, and redemption into the metaphor of a funeral train, and sung in Turner's deep voice, it rolls across country radio like nothing else on the scene, the ominous breath of hellfire in the lyrics conjuring up the ghost of Johnny Cash. It is also a hard act to follow, and although there are some strong songs here, nothing else on this record comes up to the level of "Long Black Train." Turner has a deep, commanding voice full of a kind of intimate sadness, and that alone carries songs like "She'll Go on You," setting them apart from what passes for Nashville sincerity these days, but there is simply too much filler here, and with "Long Black Train" as the lead cut, everything else seems like a long breath being exhaled.

Biography

Born: 20 November 1977 in Hannah, SC

Genre: Country

Years Active: '00s, '10s

A native of Hannah, South Carolina, country crooner Josh Turner burst onto the scene in 2003 with the powerful "Long Black Train," a song he'd written after listening to a Hank Williams box set. Sounding like a gospel-blues tune from the '40s — and featuring Turner's deep, rich baritone at the forefront — "Long Black Train" wrestled with the grand themes of temptation, salvation, death, and redemption. It also earned Turner national media attention, peaking at number 13 on the country...
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Long Black Train, Josh Turner
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