Josh Thompson will release his sophomore album, "Turn It Up," this coming Tuesday. It's been four years since his debut album "Way Out Here," and he says he can't wait for fans to hear what he has been up to. "It's about time," he tells Billboard. "It's my second record, and it's been four years. I'm excited."
Thompson says the name of the album is one that tends to suit the music – as well as this time of year. "When I named this record 'Turn It Up,' I did that not just because of the music. It's about turning up the good times and turning off the bad. It was going to be coming out during barbecue season and road trip season – when a lot of people are hanging outside. I wanted it to be one of those records that you put on, and listened to from start to finish and have a good time to."
When Thompson released "Way Out Here" in 2010, the infusion of other genres into country music was not as prevalent as it is now. "Turn It Up" reflects the change in styles. "Sonically, there's a big difference. I also think that this record is a little more lead-footed. It's just the production. Lyrically, and song-wise, it's still country music. I think it's some of the best work I've done. Sonically, you want to stay fresh and add some new elements to it."
"Turn It Up" is led by the success of the first single, "Cold Beer With Your Name On It," which is currently No. 27 on the Country Airplay. Thompson is grateful for the support the track has received from radio. "It helps a live show when people come out, and they're singing a song because they are hearing it all the time on the radio. Then, they go to iTunes and buy it. It's just great to have it out there. It's advertising and marketing, a beautiful thing."
Working with Thompson on the disc was veteran producer Mark Wright. When asked about working with the man who has steered the ship for projects such as Lee Ann Womack and Mark Chesnutt, he said "It was great. He's definitely a veteran, and has worked in every studio with some of my favorite artists. He definitely knows how to produce a record. We had a blast in the studio."
What is it about Wright's production technique that worked so well? Thompson says he knows the language of the studio. "First of all, he knows how to talk to musicians. He's great at that. My favorite part was us all being together in this big room, all of the musicians feeding off of each other, and he's out there too with his own headset, dancing. Is he a great dancer? No! It was hilarious. But, he was getting into it, and it was so infectious. I don't know if he's done that on every record, but I hope he doesn't stop."
Thompson has plenty of dates on the calendar through the summer, and he can't wait to see which cuts from the album have an impact on his live show. "I think 'Turn it Up,' 'Down For A Get Down,' 'Drink, Drink, Drink,' and 'Hank Crankin' People,' will all be great live. I think people will really look forward to hearing those."
One cut that Thompson is very excited about is "Left This Town." He says he it reminded him of his hometown of Cedarburg, Wisconsin. "That was the theme growing up. Nobody ever leaves. We molded it into a love / heartbreak song where the guy plays this role where he doesn't understand why it's over. He was under the impression that nobody ever leaves this town. I love the hook of it, and I love the lyrics."
Thompson is hoping that fans will embrace the sound of the album – particularly with their windows rolled down. "I think this is definitely beefed up – not only sonically, but tempo wise. This is definitely a driving record – more so than the first. I think there are a lot of common themes. It's still rooted in the blue collar way of life. I think that the people that loved the first record will love the new album, but it's definitely more of a party."