Josh Turner rides country music train to Dover Downs

It’s been almost four years since country singer Josh Turner has released a full-length album. But fear not, he says another will be coming soon.

“I’ve been working on this record longer than I would care to admit. I think I’ve finished it twice. But we’re finally close to getting it out,” said the 38-year-old with his distinctively deep voice.

“We’ve had to undergo business hardships in order to get the music out. But the fans deserve it. They have been very loyal and faithful to me over the years. I’m very excited to be able to be talk about new music coming out. It gives fans something to look forward to finally.”

Best Bets logo CLEAR copyLocal fans of the Grammy-nominated singer will be able to hear some of the new music and many of his old favorites when he takes the stage April 30 for a sold-out show at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino’s Rollins Center.

The first single, “Lay Low,” from his upcoming sixth studio album, was released to country radio back in September 2014.

Mr. Turner says another single called “Hometown Girl” will be out May 31.

“It’s been pretty cool to see the reaction the new songs have been getting in concert. The fans really seem to like them,” he said.

“Hometown Girl” should be on the setlist in Dover.

Country music singer Josh Turner performs a sold-out show at Dover Downs' Rollins Center April 30. (Submitted photo)

Country music singer Josh Turner performs a sold-out show at Dover Downs’ Rollins Center April 30. (Submitted photo)

“We’ve only done that once in concert so far but I’m pretty confident we’ll have that nailed down by the time we get to Dover,” he said last week.

Mr. Turner, one of the youngest members of the Grand Ole Opry, burst on the country music scene in 2001 with the single “Long Black Train, which led to the 2003 Platinum-selling album of the same name.

Mr. Turner’s hits also include “Your Man,” “Why Don’t We Just Dance,” “Firecracker,” “Would You Go With Me,” “All Over Me,” and “Time Is Love,” the most played country song of 2012.

His last album, “Punching Bag,” released in 2012, hit No. 1 on the Billboard Country charts.

Mr. Turner has long been regarded as one of the last of a dying breed. His sound has been described as more of a traditional one that goes back to a different time in country music.

He said he’s tried to stay true to himself and his roots

“I’ve had a lot of things pushed on me since day one. People will say ‘With this record, change things up and do things a little differently.’ You do try to embrace change but it’s a hard thing to balance sometimes,” he said.

You don’t hear a lot of songs from Mr. Turner that you might hear from other artists — and he’s OK with that.

“I don’t drink so that’s not something I’m going to sing about. I believe in marriage and I love my wife and the relationship that I have with her. So I’m not going to sing about going out with a lot of women,” he said.

“There are some standards that I have upheld over the years. But I love having a good time and one of my biggest commercial songs is ‘Why Don’t We Just Dance?’ so it’s not been all serious.”

One of those more somber songs, “Long Black Train” evokes the image of a funeral train as a metaphor for temptation. He said he never thought the gospel-tinged tune would become the success that it has.

“That totally surprised me. The label wanted to go with it. I thought it was as far away from commercial as you can get. All the evidence of the music charts pointed to the fact that a hit was not going to happen but the rest is history,” he said.

The impact the song has had on people has been gratifying.

“I had a real baptism by fire with the song. It opened my eyes to how powerful this platform is. That to me is the real reason I’m in this business. There is so much stuff out there that puts people in a bad mood and discourages them,” he said.

“I want my music to have a positive impact on people and lift them up and give them joy.”

The Hannah, South Carolina, native has started a scholarship fund to assist students interested in pursuing a future in arts and music. ,

“I fell in love with music at an early age just listening to what my grandparents listened to. But I didn’t have access to music education when I was growing up,” he said.

“So when I went to college to study music, I was way behind the curve. I wasn’t prepared basically and had to take self-paced classes and private lessons.

“I was at a sizable disadvantage, which made me want to start this fund.”

With an album finally on the way and a happy family life with his wife, Jennifer, and four boys, Mr. Turner considers himself a pretty lucky guy.

“I wake up every morning still doing what I love to do. And that’s what it’s all about,” he said.

R2Hop2 festival on Saturday

As we told you last week, the Fordham and Dominion Brewing Co.’s fifth annual R2Hop2 beer and music festival will be held Saturday.

The festival will be held from noon to 5 p.m. at the brewery, located at 1284 McD Drive in Dover and will feature a full day of live music with performances by Pasadena, The Barrelhouse Blues Band, Stone Jack Ballers and The Casey Alvarez Band.

Adult activities will include a keg toss, cornhole, a homebrew demonstration and a pinup photo booth while children will be treated to a rock climbing wall and face painting, among other free activities.

VIP tickets are sold out but regular tickets are $25 in advance ($30 at the door) and include five beers and an R2hop2 specialty glass. Tickets are available for designated drivers for $20; children younger than the age of 16 are admitted free.

Tickets can be purchased at the brewery, off Horsepond Road, or at www.fordhamanddominion.com.

‘Underwater Dreamer’

VSA Delaware will sponsor the Celebration of Creativity 2016 performance, “Underwater Dreamer” Saturday.

The performance is the culminating event of a performing arts residency for transitional-aged students taught by residency artist, Stefanie Jaye, and starring the Transitional Players (students from John S. Charlton School and Kent County Community School) and the PCA Project.

The inclusive residency program allowed students to develop transitional skills along with theater and performing arts competency. “Underwater Dreamer,” the final performance, will allow students to share their newly acquired skills and residency experiences.

The performance will be held at 2 p.m., in the Theater of the Education & Humanities Building at Delaware State University, Dover. Admission is free.

VSA Delaware is an arts and disability organization whose purpose is to help create a society where people with disabilities can learn through, participate in and enjoy the arts.

For more information, contact Jennifer Gunther at jennifer@VSADelaware.org or at (302) 857-6699.

What Women Want Fest

The Delaware State News is introducing a new event for local women Sunday.

The W3 What Women Want Fest will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Delaware Technical Community College Conference Center in Dover. This “women-only” event will include vendors, food, door prizes, giveaways and pop-up experiences.

The event will feature a workout room and fitness demonstrations by sponsor YMCA–Dover, an interactive station from sponsor Merrill Lynch & Co. to help the attendees prioritize their goals in relation to their individual finances, and third sponsor Dover Federal Credit Union will have giveaway items.

In addition, the Charitable Dames of Delaware will be hosting a purse exchange. To participate, bring a gently used or new purse (of at least $20 value) and an entry donation of $20 and pick a new purse for your closet. Select purses will have prizes and gift certificates hidden inside.

There will be other vendors to visit along with food, door prizes and a fashion show.

Tickets are available on Eventbrite, search for W3 What Women Want Fest or at the Delaware State News, 110 Galaxy Drive, Dover. They are $7 in advance or $10 the day of the event. For more information, visit www.w3fest.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/w3fest.

Training day

The Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village will unveil its new agricultural railroad exhibit April 26 at 10 a.m. for the inspired by a bequest from past Ag Museum President Norm Collins.

The exhibit is a collaboration between Norm and Suzanne Collins, Ed Kee, the First State Model Railroad Club, the Delaware Department of Agriculture Forestry Division, Kund & Associates, the Ag Museum board of directors and staff.

The train display platform was made out of wood harvested in Delaware and made by Franny Cole and Robert Ragin, employees of the Delaware Department of Forestry.

There are 12 farms (four in each county) and nine train stations (three in each county) included in this display.

Admission to this opening reception is free. Regular admission will be charged after the opening reception.

The museum is on U.S. 13 next to Delaware State University.

Now showing

New this weekend in theaters is the sci-fi fantasy film “The Huntsman: Winter’s War.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is the action-comedy sequel “Ride Along 2” and the scary Christmas tale “Krampus.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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