Josh Turner finds marketing a book a different duty than touting a new CD.
“It’s different in that it’s been a breath of fresh air,” he said Tuesday in a phone call from home in Nashville, Tenn., laughing and leading to this punch line. “I tell people it’s a lot cheaper promoting a book because you’re not having to pay a band or ship instruments all over the place.”
The tall baritone has two dates booked for Saturday, close to his hometown Hannah, midway between Conway and Sumter. The author of “Man Stuff: Thoughts on Faith, Family, and Fatherhood,” published in April by Thomas Nelson, will have a book and CD signing at 11 a.m. at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 3346 Reed St., Myrtle Beach, at The Market Common. Then, at 7 p.m., Turner will give a concert at the Alabama Theatre, at Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach.
Just going around this spring with interviews focusing on the book – for which Jase Robertson of A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” wrote the foreward – Turner sees this break from routine as “fun.” Having delved much more deeply into songwriting in the past decade, Turner found the autobiography giving him a channel into “untapped waters.”
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“It was very therapeutic for me to sit and write and tell these stories,” he said, “and I specifically selected a lot of these stories because I wanted to tell stories that have a life’s lesson to go along with it – stories that kind of explain things I’ve learned and grown from, things that have made me a better man or made me the man I am.”
Turner also tallied these reflections to share with “my children, and my grandchildren one day,” so they know the key figures in his life.
“It was also a way for me to honor those people who helped me growing up,” he said, “who helped me to learn things.”
Honor with ‘Dr. Ralph’
One of Turner’s early musical influences, Ralph Stanley, will perform Sept. 9 in Brunswick Community College’s Odell Williamson Auditorium in Supply, N.C. With three members from Diamond Rio, he joined Turner for “Me and God” on his second CD, “Your Man.”
Crediting his manager for that collaboration, Turner remembered the plea to record that song, because as he was told, it was “so simple, honest and totally reflecting who you are and what you believe.”
With contact made to “Dr. Ralph,” Turner agreed, “Man, that’s right up my alley.”
“He was one of the first people I ever heard on a radio in my life,” said Turner of his fellow Grand Ole Opry member.
Turner remembered performing at the Opry in Nashville the same night Stanley played, and catching up with him again backstage, issuing the invitation to help record “Me and God.”
He said, ‘Let me hear it,’ ” Turner recalled. “I said, ‘Let me grab my guitar, and I’ll play it for you right now.’ ”
Since first hearing that song in an Opry dressing room, Stanley later had heart bypass surgery, then on the rebound, he and Turner met up in the studio.
“When he came back.” Turner said, referring to recovery from surgery, “that was the first thing he had done. You can really hear the fragility in his voice, and the honesty.”
Turner said work on his sixth studio CD continues, and that writing for this package began in January 2013, with possible hopes of a new single next year.
“It’s been somewhat of a journey getting this record done,” he said.
He thought about “all the work, time and effort” that led to the release of two CDs in 2012: his fifth studio album, “Punching Bag,” on MCA Nashville, with country radio’s most played song that year, “Time Is Love,” and his second compilation CD sold through Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, “Live Across America.”
Triple the pleasure as dad
Then the book has filled its own chapter for 2014, with a title Turner conceived. The cover of the 214-page memoir shows the married father with his three sons, Hampton, Colby and Marion, now ages 7, 4 and 3, respectively, and pictured clockwise in that order from left, to the youngest, asleep in his left arm.
Turner said using that photo made up “the easiest part” of forming the book.
“That was a shot from a People County magazine article,” he said, noting the attention it fetched to become the “perfect cover for the book.”
With a 12th wedding anniversary this month to the former Jennifer Ford, a keyboardist and background singer, Turner said as parents, and through their church involvement, they have learned ways to prevent “secondhand stress” from work and everyday life from reaching their boys.
“Children are affected by any and all stress that we feel or are dealing with,” Turner said, recognizing “they sense that and they feel that.”
Turner said he and the boys “do a lot of stuff together,” including going to Atlanta Braves baseball games and seeing plenty of football and basketball.
Turner also likes quality time away with each son. He said he’s escaped to the family cabin in South Carolina with the eldest two already, and that maybe Marion’s about “ready for a camping trip with Daddy.”
Speaking these words a week and half before Father’s Day, Turner said through outings with each son individually, “I see who they are” even more.