I Serve a Saviour
Heartfelt Country Songs Full of Hope, Love and Faith.
Perhaps Josh Turner is too mainstream for my regular readers, and possibly RMHQ is too ‘edgy’ for his normal fan base but when I reviewed his last album hardly anyone read it …… which wasn’t helped by a lack of promotion by the label and PR (don’t get me started!).
But, I carry on regardless because I actually like Josh Turner.
What we have here is a UK ‘extended release’ of his Hit Album I Serve a Saviour that’s coinciding with a 3 Date UK Tour; and it’s not my ‘comfort zone’ by a million miles as it’s a collection of songs celebrating Turner’s Faith (with a capital F) …….. and it really amused Mrs Magpie when she caught me listening earlier in the week!
Irony apart, opening track Hank’s I Saw The Light is as good a version as I’ve ever heard; easily comparable with the one by Bap Kennedy as it too has me tapping my toes and mentally raising my hands in the air shouting Hallelujah! during each and every chorus).
I have an ambivalent approach to organised Religion; but when I hear Josh Turner singing classics like Amazing Grace or Turner’s jaunty Swing Low Sweet Chariot or more close to home, the Methodist Anthem that my father had sung at his funeral; How Great Thou Art I’m actually questioning my own mortality and what may follow.
Which brings me to the ubiquitous Long Black Train which has turned up on my albums than the fade out groove; but possibly never sounded more ‘Country’ than this swinging version that knocks most others into a cocked hat!
As a reviewer I try my best not to let personal taste or in this case ‘beliefs’ get in the way; and just talk about how the songs evolve and actually effect me …….. and Turner has the ability here to touch my heart with his gently wrapped earnestness on the beautiful Great Is Your Faithfulness and more unexpectantly the warm Hill Country beauty of Me and My God.
Obviously on an album like this there is going to be surprises around every corner; and I’ve found myself coming back to the title track I Serve a Saviour and the stunning The River of Happiness (which is actually a harmony duet between Turners wife Jennifer and son Hampton) many times now, and both have left me with a lovely warm glow.
The two ‘bonus tracks’ are Live Acoustic versions of Without Him and I Serve a Saviour and really and truly showcase not just Turner’s ‘Faith’ but his undoubted talent as they are as raw as an open wound.
Then, there is I Pray My Way Out Of Trouble; a spectacularly odd choice for me – a Natural Born Sinner Boy, to choose as my Favourite Song, but when I first heard Turner’s words last weeks they had a profound effect on me; as I was in a bad place (again) and while I don’t believe in a an all encompassing God as such; Josh could have been singing about me trying to contact my dear departed Mother. Yep …….. I cried my way through all 3.39 minutes three times consecutively.
It’s very easy to dismiss a person’s Beliefs out of hand, and I don’t want to get drawn into how deeply Religion fits into Country Music in parts of the USA but if we leave that aside, I SERVE A SAVIOUR has really touched me in a way I’d never have expected two years ago ……… but what with my advancing age and deteriorating health combining to have me questioning my own mortality I have received plenty of succour and hope from every song here.
UK Release August 30th 2019