Although Josh Turner‘s latest album bears the title Punching Bag, the album as a whole is much more about family, love and faith. Still, the beauty of this song collection is Josh’s versatility. From sounds of bluegrass to influences of Johnny Cash and George Jones, Turner manages to get a little bit of everything in this one. And he does it well.
Turner begins his latest album with the title track, an upbeat anthem. In the song, Josh vents about the difficulties life places on him as an artist—the pressure and competition of the music industry. After telling his wife one night that he felt like life was beating him up, he immediately got the idea for a song, and “Punching Bag” followed soon after that. Although it is a song about when the going gets tough, Turner brings it home with encouragement as well.
Everyday life is a heavy weight
You can tear me up, there ain’t no doubt
But you ain’t never gonna knock me out
Following the opening song is Josh’s pre-released “Time is Love,” in which the singer contemplates the value of the time he spends away from his family. The song is definitely modern and upbeat but still heavily accented with country and bluegrass influences, demonstrated by banjo and mandolin melodies.
Turner once again demonstrates his ability to create a smooth sexy groove with “Deeper Than My Love,” a showcase for his deep vocal work.
Josh has a couple tracks on the album that are just feel-good-in-love songs. These are light hearted tunes that seem to capture Turner’s happy marriage and love for his three little boys. “Good Problem,” “Find Me A Baby,” and “Whatcha Reckon” all take on this feel, but that’s not to say each doesn’t have its own unique sound!
Turner diverges from the overall feel of the album with two particularly sad, slow tracks that hearken back to an older country sound. With whining steel guitar and piano accents, “Cold Shoulder” reminds listeners of the many lingering questions that remain after a tough breakup. “Pallbearer” is another one about being left brokenhearted, although it takes on a completely different musical feel. With a raw, western influence, it has an eerie yet beautiful ambiance.
Turner brings the album to a close with a couple faith-inspired songs. In “For The Love of God,” written solely by Josh, he talks about the life he intends to live (“I ain’t tryin’ to win the praise of man/I live for the love of God“). The bluegrass tune features instrumentals by Ricky Scaggs. “I Was There” is a gorgeous and inspirational ballad about God’s constant love. Leaning heavily on the piano, the moving song is emotionally involving all the way through.
Josh wraps up with “Left Hand Man,” a feel-good, upbeat love song about getting married and growing old together. The album is overall a fantastic showcase for Josh’s talents and his ability to bring together a variety of genres and styles.
<strongPunching Bag track listing:
2. Punching Bag
3. Time Is Love
4. Deeper Than My Love
5. Good Problem
6. Cold Shoulder
7. Find Me A Baby
8. Whatcha Reckon
10. For The Love Of God
11. I Was There
12. Left Hand Man
-Alex Stegall /The New 103.7