Multi-platinum-selling country singer Josh Turner’s I Serve a Savior released in October to critical acclaim, “bypassing the Saturday-evening revelry of most modern-day country,” as stated by Rolling Stone. A collection of hand-picked hymns alongside brand-new originals and live recordings of some of Turner’s most memorable hits, I Serve A Savior complements the singer’s baritone voice. “All the while, [Turner] manages to put his distinct spin on the classics,” shares Sounds Like Nashville, adding “I Serve a Savior provides a much-needed message of hope to the listener … and proves that [Turner’s] gospel album was well worth the wait.”
CHARISMA NEWS: Why release this project now?
A gospel record has always been something I’ve wanted to do. My faith has always been important to me, so when I chose songs for this project, they meant something special to me. I was able to go into the studio and record some of the songs I’d been wanting to record for a long, long time.
How did you pick the hymns? I have a deep connection to all the songs on this record, whether I first heard a song on my grandmama’s record player, like “I Pray My Way Out of Trouble,” or performed my favorite hymn “Without Him” with my old gospel quartet, The Thankful Hearts. Each of these songs means something special to me.
I think the biggest difference is the contemporary language in the modern hymns. But I think the message, the heart and the inspiration can be genuine, whether it’s old or new.
What was the writing process like for “The River (of Happiness)”?
It’s been a long time coming, and I’m glad I was able to include my wife [Jennifer] and my four sons. They actually wrote it four years ago, when Hampton was 8. Hampton even played a little bit of mandolin on it. When I was having a production meeting one day, Jennifer and I talked about it, and I said, “This would be a really neat moment on the record to have them sing on this.” It’s an uplifting song, and having Jennifer and the boys singing on it drives that home. I thought it would offer something new to the record, and having everyone involved is a really neat moment.
How does your understanding of hymns affect your country music and vice versa?
My understanding of hymns affects my approach to country music because of the way the lyrics are written. They tell a story in a very specific way, so when I approach a country record, I try to accomplish the same thing. I want to cut songs that mean something. The flip side of that is when I approach a gospel record like this, I come at it from a country perspective. I want it to be laid-back and tell a story. I want to hear the country or bluegrass flair.
How is the Lord moving in your life right now?
I have seen God unify people in a way I think only He can. I think He can bring everybody together no matter what race we are, where we come from, how old we are. You know, all that fades away when He’s involved.
What is your prayer right now?
My prayer is that this record would be impactful and influential and would come to a listener at the exact time he or she needs it. Whether someone is looking for encouragement or some answers to questions in their life—whatever they’re seeking, I hope this record would play a small part in meeting that need.