Review: Punching Bag, by Josh Turner. (MCA Nashville)
Long removed from the promise of the truly stirring Long Black Train, Josh Turner’s new album, Punching Bag, proves that Music Row, Nashville has elevated cliche to art.
This album is about as involving as a slice of store brand cheese product.But you know, there’s always some sort of low reached every time a slice of product is presented from God’s point of view, such as this album’s I Was There. Yeah, they went there.
The title cut is somewhat amusing, and Time Is Love is a mid-tempo song with some charm. But the cliche-ridden album’s nadir has to be Pallbearer, which has a really good, strong atmosphere (think Darrell Scott at his most socially significant) that feels important but is essentially a well-structured “poor poor me” whine. And I’m not so sure in this day and age its a good idea to compare the end of a relationship to being buried in the ground. Maybe that’s just me. Even more criminal, the song is a complete waste of the talents of Marty Stuart (mandolin) and Iris DeMint (harmonies).
Then there’s the great coal mine imagery of Deeper Than My Love – yeah, you could dig in the mine all the way to China and still couldn’t get deeper than my love. And other stuff. Yawn.
Well, at least Cold Shoulder does have have a really nice Charlie Rich groove, and is three minutes of testimony to what this album could have been. And For The Love Of God is a wonderful testimony, with a fine performance by Mr. Ricky Skaggs.
This album’s slickness is not living up to the promise offered on Long Black Train. With as much talent as Turner has – along with that classic country voice – I’m looking forward to the music he’ll make when Music Row decides he’s too old.