Josh Turner loves Tucson, so much so, that he’s wasting no time at all to get back on an Old Pueblo stage.
Just 10 months after he played the Pima County Fair last April in what was arguably the largest concert of the 2017 fair, Turner is back. This time, he’s headlining the inaugural Country Fest Tucson at the Tucson Expo Center on Saturday, Feb. 24, with Josh Gracin and a handful of local and regional country artists including Tucson’s own Caiden Brewer.
We caught up with Turner last week on the phone from a concert stop in St. Louis to chat about headlining the new festival, returning to Tucson and playing his nearly year-old sixth studio album “Deep South,” which had been slowly coming together since 2014.
“Seeing how the fans have reacted has been very fulfilling for me,” said Turner, who next month marks the 10th anniversary of his 2008 Tucson debut when he opened for Carrie Underwood, “They had been champing at the bit for a long time … and the fans liked what they heard. Playing the songs from this record live has been a blast for me.”
Coming back to Tucson: “I’ve always loved going to Tucson. I don’t mean this in a bad way, but it’s kinda, sort of an isolated market. I feel like the demand is always high when we go there, and it’s not someplace we go very often. So I love going down there. There’s a lot of great country music fans. It’s just a cool place to be.”
Give the fans what they like: “My goal every night is to try to go out and do my very best and to just try and make a connection with the fans and allow them to walk away and they feel better than they did when they walked in. That’s my goal. Sometimes I accomplish that and sometimes I don’t. But my goal is to give them the best quality entertainment I can. I’m not just about music. I’m about heart, I’m about faith, I’m about hope and I’m about joy. And I try to present all of that through my music and through the words that I say on stage. Life is heavy enough as it is and the last thing I want for my fans is to go to a show that brings that to light or focuses on that and makes it worse.”
Here’s a piece of Josh Turner Tucson trivia: He recorded the song “Don’t Fence Me In” for the 2008 movie “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl” in Tucson. “I actually did the vocals for that song in Tucson. I was on the road pretty heavy that year and we had cut the track in Nashville. The only time I had to do it was on the road. We found a studio in Tucson and we flew my producer out and recorded it in Tucson.”