Even country stars have bad days every now and then. So what’s a guy to do when it feels as though life’s beating him up? If he’s Josh Turner, he crafts it into a song and the title track for his brand new album, Punching Bag.
The double-platinum-selling singer’s just-released album features 11 tracks, two of which Turner wrote on his own and six he co-wrote.
Of the title track, Turner describes it as “a song of motivation. It’s not one of aggression. It’s more about just being able to endure what life throws at you.”
He explains, “The idea for the song came from one of those days that we all have where everything just blows up in your face and nothing goes right.”
After having such a day, Turner vented to his wife Jennifer and said, “I just feel like a punching bag. I feel like life is beating me up.”
He tells CMT.com, “When I said it, it immediately struck me as a song title, and I wrote it down.”
Turner then sat down with creative partner Pat McLaughlin to write the song.
“I wanted to really capture the emotions that I felt that particular day when I came up with the title and just let people know that I was trying to motivate them with this song and not get discouraged and just keep your head up and keep moving forward when you take those punches of life.”
When he’s feeling those punches, Turner credits his faith in God and his family as sources of perseverance and inspiration.
The South Carolina native says he’s learned a lot since the release of his 2003 debut album, Long Black Train, and his comfort level becomes more apparent with each new record.
“When I went in to cut Your Man, I had one album under my belt, and all the nerves and the jitters had kind of gotten out of my system,” he reveals. “I felt a little more confident having a platinum record under my belt. Going into Your Man, you could hear that I was more confident and that my voice had developed and grown a little more. And now that I have four records under my belt, you can hear that, too, in this record. I feel like I’ve gotten older and wiser and smarter.”
Turner’s unmistakable baritone takes center stage on flirty tracks including “Deeper Than My Love” and “Whatcha Reckon.” Uplifting religious tunes include “For the Love of God” and “I Was There.” And Turner’s in his traditional country element in somber songs such as “Pallbearer” and “Cold Shoulder.”
His current single, “Time Is Love,” is an easily-relatable tune about keeping your priorities in order. The track has already reached No. 14 on Billboard’s country songs chart. With the line of work he’s in, the singer realizes prioritization is essential.
“Success is a double-edged sword,” he explains. “The more successful you are, the busier you get. … Less time for family, less time to yourself, and so that can be kind of dangerous. You obviously don’t want the opposite to be true either where you have too much free time.”
Fortunately for Turner, he’s able to look at his schedule in advance and plan time off accordingly.
The singer even got some family bonding in during the recording of Punching Bag. After co-writing “Find Me a Baby” with Frank Rogers, Turner brought his wife and three sons into the studio to lend their voices to the track.
“This is probably one of the happiest songs I’ve ever heard,” he says with a laugh. “I mean, it’s like if you’re a happy person and you listen to this song, you’ll probably end up like Richard Simmons. It’s just so happy. There’s not a hint of lonesome in it at all.”
While his songwriting is certainly on display on the album, Turner explains he simply tries to find the best songs, which aren’t always his own.
“I try to write as much as I can when an album comes along,” he says. “But I’ve never been one of those artists that says, ’Oh, the majority of these songs have to be mine,’ or, ’All of them have to be mine.’ I’ve just always tried to find the best songs, period, whether I wrote them or not.”
Regardless of the songwriter, Turner mainly looks forward to the public’s reaction when he releases a new single.
“You get to hear what a ton of fans think about it and how it affects them,” he says. “Seeing it go from nothing to a huge hit that sells records and influences people, there’s nothing more fulfilling for me in my job.”