Local Wire

Josh Turner

One thing is for certain in today's contemporary country music — you'll never hear bluegrass deity Dr. Ralph Stanley singing on a Kenny Chesney record. While Chesney's grasp of country tradition begins with Jimmy Buffett's 1977 hit "Margaritaville," fortunately for country purists, there is Josh Turner, who dueted with Stanley on his hit "Me and God" and sings in a rich baritone that would make the great George Jones stop and listen. In an age when country sounds like '80s pop, when power ballads abound and four-on-the-floor rock beats are the norm, Turner is a throwback to a time when twin fiddles had honky-tonkers two-stepping and a weeping pedal steel could make a grown man shed a tear in his beer. Just three albums into his career, Turner has already penned a bona fide classic, the 2003 gospel-themed "Long Black Train," and has dallied with bluegrass on the 2006 number one "Would You Go with Me" and pure honky-tonk with the same year's smash "Your Man." Though Turner may never be as huge as Toby Keith, Chesney, or Keith Urban, his neo-traditionalist country puts him in league with George Strait, Alan Jackson, and Clint Black, which is finer company to be keeping.