CD Review: Josh Turner

Haywire (MCA Nashville)

From the time he burst onto the scene with 2003's openly spiritual hit single "Long Black Train," Josh Turner established himself as one of country music's more easily identifiable voices. His rumbling baritone set to traditional-leaning arrangements was distinctive. And his songs are uniformly catchy and slick enough to share chart space with Taylor Swift. Haywire, Turner's fourth CD, is notable not just for its ingratiating melodies but because there isn't a single heartache number in the bunch.

That, it appears, is intentional. Turner, who wrote six of the songs with an aim of getting people's minds off the dire state of the economy, is clearly a happy man. Consider the consistency of Haywire's central theme: a slavish adoration of his significant other. He can't get out of work fast enough to be with her on the rambunctious "Friday Paycheck" and sings her praises on the rootsy "Your Smile" (which he says is "right there with butter beans and cherry pie"). Turner ends Haywire on a gospel-inspired note with the Jesus-promoting ballad "The Answer" which, while undoubtedly sincere, seems weirdly out of place following Haywire's wholesale veneration of far earthier delights.

Tierney Smith

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