Ever since Josh Turner launched his career in 2003 with the inspirational song "Long Black Train," his fans have been expecting him to do a gospel album.
But the South Carolina native says that's never been his focus.
"The thing that I've had to explain to people is that -- you know, I've been saying this for almost two decades now -- is that I was called to be a country singer," Josh asserts. "And that's where my heart's always been. So up until now, my priority has been to establish myself as a country artist."
"And in the back of my mind, I just always thought, you know, there'd be plenty of time to make a gospel record, whenever I was ready."
For Josh, that time is now: His first full-length gospel album, titled I Serve a Savior, came out on Friday. Even as he started the project, Josh says he approached it from a country perspective.
"When it came time to make this record, I was kinda coming at it from a country angle and a bluegrass angle," he explains. "Because a lot of my favorite gospel music is actually bluegrass gospel music. That's why [The Osborne Brothers'] 'I Pray My Way Out of Trouble' is on this record and [Hank Williams'] 'I Saw the Light.'"
Bobby Osborne sings with Josh on the album on a song he learned in childhood, thanks to his grandmother.
"My granny had a huge record collection..." Josh recalls. "She had everything from bluegrass to gospel to country to Opry stars... And 'I Pray My Way Out of Trouble' was one of the first songs that I ever heard."
I Serve a Savior is available now, along with an accompanying live DVD hosted by gospel legend Bill Gaither.
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