Review + Photo by Adrian Peel

One of the biggest names in country music over the past 15 years, American superstar Josh Turner rounded off his short, three-date UK tour – the first time he’s performed on this side of the Atlantic – to a large crowd at the second annual Long Road country music festival in Leicestershire, topping a bill which also included Cam, Asleep at the Wheel and Suzy Bogguss.

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Technical problems delayed the artist’s entrance onto the stage, but when the 41-year-old finally came out, the welcome he received was deafening. Dressed in jeans, a black T-shirt and an open checked shirt, Turner looked every inch the ‘down home’ southern boy as he launched into the so-so ‘Time Is Love’ from his 2012 album, ‘Punching Bag’.

Famed for his incredibly deep voice, the singer put it to great use on the much better second track, ‘Everything Is Fine’. Proud of his Christian beliefs, ‘Me and God’ was the first of a number of songs with a strong religious theme – ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’, ‘I Serve a Saviour’, ‘I Saw the Light’ and his outstanding breakthrough single, ‘Long Black Train‘ (all of which can be found on his 2018 gospel album, ‘I Serve a Saviour’) were the others.

Turner’s voice was excellent – indeed he sounded just as he does on record – and the likeable star apologised for it having taken him so long to come to the UK. He promised to come back and “probably stay a bit longer next time.”

‘Why Don’t We Just Dance’, ‘Lay Low’ and the gorgeous ‘I Wouldn’t Be a Man’ were also exceptional moments, while ‘Your Man’ – a US country number one hit from 2005 – was the ideal way to close what had been a rousing show.

I’d waited a long time to see Josh Turner live and he certainly lived up to expectations, putting on an amazing and highly accomplished performance that had something for everyone – uptempo songs, reflective and spiritual material, as well as first-rate examples of traditional and modern country.

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