Merry Christmas everyone… Ooops, it is just the beginning of October… However, after I already reviewed the album Weihnachtszeit by German artist Roland Kaiser on the same weekend, here is a holiday album, Josh Turner style. The US country artist released King Size Manger on 8th October 2021.
Josh Turner – About The Artist
Joshua Otis Turner was born on 20th November 1977 in Hannah, South Carolina. He is majorly known for modern country music, but also recorded gospel songs. He decided to become a professional musician in 2001 and even had his Grand Ole Opry debut that year. His career overall started very well – his debut album Long Black Train (2003) peaked third in the US Country Charts and was in the all-genre Top 30. The title track was a platinum record as well as the album itself. His album chart record is impressive. Already his second album, Your Man (2006), topped the US Country Charts. Until the seventh Josh Turner studio album, I Serve a Savior (2018), all releases went to the Top 3 of the genre’s charts. The last release, Country State of Mind, was rather unsuccessful and just peaked 14th.
Turner also had several US Country Song chart leaders on the single side. The first one was Your Man (2005). However, the most recent one is dated as of 2010, when All Over Me dominated the genre.
Josh Turner – King Size Manger – Track by Track
The eleven song album lasts 42 minutes.
1. Angels We Have Heard On High
Josh Turner’s 2021 edition of Christmas songs starts with a classic – and already sents the scene for the whole album. A traditional festive touch, but undeniably country music style. Just as you would think about about a country x-mas compilation. There is no doubt about his talent anyway – so that the song is a nice listen, which might be a bit too fast for traditional Christmas music lovers.
2. What He’s Given Me (feat. Pat McLaughlin)
For the second song, Turner collaborates with an established singer-songwriter of the Nashville music scene, Pat McLaughlin. A rather slow song with scrumming guitars and a nice vocal collaboration
3. King Size Manger
The third song of the album is a lovely new original by Josh Turner. The slow style of the song gives a cozy holiday touch. I feel it is a really well done one. Beautiful country song dedicated to this time of the year.
4. Joy To The World (feat. Rhonda Vincent)
Back to a Christmas classic song. Not only due to Rhonda Vincent as a guest musician, the song is a nice bluegrass track. I personally like slower Christmas tracks more – there is quite a lot of “action” in this song due to all the different instruments. Nonetheless, I guess that bluegrass lovers listen with a smile in their face.
5. Soldier’s Gift
Yeah, tonight there’s a solider in a land far away
While the children listen for the bells on the sleigh
We never met, our names are not on our list
But you sleep well, America,
that’s a soldier’s gift.
On the one hand, the song combines the Christian holiday with country music stereotypes – on the other hand, it is simply a really impressive track. US country listeners will love that.
6. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (feat. Turner Family)
Christmas is family time – so why not having your family on your holiday album? That’s about the motivation behind this song – and the Turners do really well in this song everybody knows. A lot of Christmas spirit in this song, for sure.
7. Go Tell It On The Mountain
Josh Turner does this song gospel style – not too much country music in here. The traditional one is a great song – thus, Go Tell It On The Mountain is one of the best listens of the album to me.
8. Mele Kalikimaka My ‘Ohana (feat. Jake Shimabukuro & Ho’okena)
One thing I like about listening to Christmas albums from other parts of the world is my curiosity which songs are popular there. This Hawaiian classic, for example, plays hardly any role in Santa’s leaderboard of tunes in Germany. Josh Turner and his guest musicians do it nicely, I personally prefer the version by Jim “Kimo” West.
9. The First Nowell
While the album album came with a few originals at the beginning, John Turner more and more leans towards songs families sing for decades at Christmas at the end of the album. Again, his version of The First Nowell comes with a John Turner style, but the classic “home made” style feels to be much stronger in here. This also leads to a very nice presence of his vocals in this song. Like it!
10. Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town
Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town is definitely one of the more modern, more pop music-alike December tunes. Josh Turner slows it down a bit and replaces the rhythmic style of many recordings by country and bluegrass instrumentations. Santa Claus is coming to your town this year – but he might wear Josh Turner-style boots in 2021.
11. Silent Night, Holy Night
Okay, you just cannot publish a Christmas album without this global classic. And Josh Turner does a great recording of it, keeping the original style, but also adding his own signature to it.
Josh Turner – King Size Manger – Spotify
Here is Josh Turner’s 2021 Christmas album on Spotify:
Josh Turner – King Size Manger – My View
Josh Turner presents a nice mix of songs in King Size Manger. Traditional styles and country/bluegrass recordings, classic Christmas songs and new recordings. No big surprises, no song you absolutely have to listen under the Christmas tree, but very well done recordings. The album will definitely be one of the better US Christmas album releases this year.
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