Josh Turner Reminds the Audience "Time is Love"

Photo by Maddie Schroeder

Photo by Maddie Schroeder

Ally Lanasa

American country and gospel singer Josh Turner returned to Athens, Ohio, Saturday night after 10 years to perform to a crowded Templeton-Blackburn Memorial Auditorium. 

The spotlights radiated a vibrant purple as Raquel Cole took the stage at 8 p.m. in black bell-bottoms and a black blouse with sheer sleeves. The country singer, who received her first guitar at nine years old, opened the show with “It’s for Real This Time.” Cole has opened shows for multiple other country singers, including Scotty McCreery, Carrie Underwood and Brothers Osborne. Her set continued with a cover of Elle King’s “Ex’s & Oh’s” and her original song “Just Like You.” Then, the multi-instrumentalist had the crowd singing along to her rendition of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.”

Before leading the audience in clapping to her bluesy song “Hello L.A.,” Cole informed concertgoers that she studied with a jazz teacher for years. The solo Canadian singer later joked that the rest of her band was stuck at the border. Cole ended her set with “Personal Truth,” the title track of her first EP, which was released in June 2018. 

The concert was Cole’s first visit to Athens. She has visited 37 states from touring.

Turner took the stage with his six band members at 9 p.m., opening with his 2012 hit “Time Is Love.” The 41-year-old continued his set with “Everything Is Fine,” the title-track of his third studio album, and “Me and God.” After singing “Deep South,” the title-track of his 2017 album, Turner shared his regrets about eating a peanut butter and banana sandwich with barbeque chips for supper because it was all he could taste. 

Turner slowed down his set, performing “I Saw The Light” and “I Serve A Savior” from his first gospel record, which was released in October 2018. The screeching of a train pulling into a station echoed throughout MemAud and steam rose into the air as he sang his 2003 debut single “Long Black Train.” Then, concertgoers were on their feet, two-stepping to his 2010 hit “Why Don’t We Just Dance.” The Grand Ole Opry member dedicated “Hometown Girl” to the women in the audience, serenading them with his deep, baritone voice.

Turner paused to promote his merchandise, joking that anything concertgoers were missing in life could be found in the lobby. T-shirts, hats, CDs and his book, Man Stuff: Thoughts on Faith, Family and Fatherhood, were for sale. In addition to being one of country music’s most recognizable voices and an author, the South Carolina native is also a philanthropist, supporting music education through The Josh Turner Scholarship Fund. 

A fast-paced melody of drums, electric guitar, acoustic guitar and violin sounded throughout the auditorium as the stage illuminated in red, white and blue for “Firecracker,” following “I Wouldn’t Be A Man.” Turner’s performance of “Lay Low,” which peaked at No. 28 on the Billboard Hot Country Charts in 2015, evoked a desire to camp in “a little cabin sittin’ so far back out in the country.” He then led fans in clapping to the beat of “Would You Go With Me.” 

Turner left the stage only to quickly return for an encore with “All Over Me” from Haywire. The country singer smiled gleefully as the crowd belted out the lyrics to “Your Man,” the title track of his 2006 album, to end the show.