Since he made his Billboard chart debut in 2002, Josh Turner has been one of the most consistent recording artists in the country format, with hits such as "Time Is Love," "Your Man," and "Firecracker" to his credit. Coming up on Tuesday, the MCA Nashville recording artist adds another layer to his career with the release of his very first book, "Man Stuff: Thoughts On Faith, Family, and Fatherhood" (Thomas Nelson). A series of reflections of how events in his life have shaped him, Turner told The 615 that writing the book was an enjoyable experience.
"It was a fun project for me to do," he said. "Thomas Nelson Publishing approached me about it last year. It just really appealed to me because it allowed me to say some things that I haven't really been able to say in any other forum throughout my career. I jumped on the chance to do it."
If you're looking for a book that borders on the stuffy side, Turner said that Man Stuff probably isn't for you. He said it's not that type of book. "It's not a novel, by any means. But, it is in some ways, my life story – or at least the foundation of it. There's 90 stories in this book that I describe as life lessons. There are stories from my life that are experiences that I've been through – good and bad and otherwise. There are things I've taken something away from. It's fun to get them in published form, and to able to pass that on."
Many of the chapters in "Man Stuff" detail Turner's deep-rooted Christian faith, something that has been a part of his music since "Long Black Train."
"I've never shied away from it," he reflects. "It's part of who I am. I'm definitely not ashamed of it. I feel like country music and Christianity have been intertwined – from the early days when Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family were recording in Bristol. It's always been there. I just feel like I need to let people know exactly who I am, and not hide any of it. My faith is a huge part of who I am. I refuse to hide it. I just have to be delicate in the way I convey it and the way I get it across. I felt this was a good way to get it out there, and give some wise advice to people who might be going through a certain situation."
Turner knows that every artist might not be that comfortable talking about their beliefs, but he felt that being true to himself was the only way to approach the book.
"I'm going to live or die by who I am. I will never compromise that or shy away from it. I might miss out on this or lose out on that, but it's something I feel is worth fighting for. Loretta Lynn used to say 'Don't be somebody else. It's hard enough to be yourself."
"Man Stuff" also details Turner's feelings on his family – very much an important part of who he is. "I've always been about family and family values even before I got married and had children. I always wanted a family of my own. I always tried to honor the family I came from. I come from a heritage of farmers in South Carolina, and a lot of the men in my ancestry were in the military and fought for our freedom. I'm very proud of where I came from. I've always tried to find ways to honor those people who make me who I am today."
Turner, who is in the studio working on his follow-up to 2012's "Punching Bag," says that he hopes the book can offer his fans a chance to explore their purpose in the crazy world.
"A lot of times, we go through just floating from day to day. We get caught up in our routines, demands, and obligations. We don't take the time to take a step back, be alone, and ask ourselves 'Who am I?' What is my purpose? What are my strengths? My weaknesses? I think it's beneficial for people to take time for themselves, get closer to God, and find out who you are as a person. Hopefully, maybe some readers will do that."