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Turner pleases the traditionalists

Palace Theater, Greensburg, PA., November 9, 2019

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

Josh Turner is a hard-working citizen, a man of faith and a loyal father and husband. He also happens to be one of the youngest members inducted to the Grand Ole Opry. In short, he is the embodiment of country music's champion of the everyman. This night was special for him. He was celebrating an anniversary with his wife and his 18th with his label MCA.

He walked onto a no-frills stage in jeans and a hoodie to open with the catchy "Time Is Love." His youthful appearance and boyish charm belie his 41 years. His distinctive baritone was in fine form throughout the 90 minutes, reaching Lou Rawls depths at times.

He served up a hearty helping of songs from his gospel album, "I Serve A Savior" early on, maybe too early. He seemed somewhat anxious after a tepid crowd response to the title track from it and said, "Y'all are a great and reserved crowd."

The up-tempo" Why Don't We Just Dance" proved to be just what the doctor ordered. The atmosphere changed immediately. A large portion of the 900 theater patrons (heavy on the young female demographic as per usual for a Turner show) instantly rose to their feet as the show shifted gears. Musically, there was lots to please the traditionalist. Pedal steel, banjo and fiddle dominated almost every song. Turner took to the back of the stage and allowed band members to shine out front on solos. He also occupied the forward stage spot at times. While he didn't play lead guitar, he was a capable enough acoustic player.

During the latter half of the 16-song set, he used up some of that valuable time in the spotlight to plug the new merch available in the lobby. The time would have been better spent performing another musical number, preferably another rocker to bookend "Firecracker" during the home stretch, but anything from his solid catalog would have done. He closed the main set with the easy-rolling "Would You Go With Me" after which the entire house remained full for the encore "Your Man."