Josh Turner, "Haywire"

60 Billboard Rating

Josh Turner's 2004 breakthrough hit, "Long Black Train," reminded country fans how rare and celebrated such thrilling, deep-baritone voices have been throughout the genre's history. And while Turner is a worthy heir to such barrel-chested baritones as Don Williams, Randy Travis and Trace Adkins, his fourth album, "Haywire," is a study in inconsistent use of his vocal gift. On the single "Why Don't We Just Dance," Turner avoids oversinging, instead letting his voice communicate through the song's message, resulting in one of the album's best tracks. Conversely, on the remake of Williams' 1987 hit ballad "I Wouldn't Be a Man," Turner overuses his low register, when a more restrained approach would've improved the take. Meanwhile, trite and sometimes awkward lyrics diminish some tracks that contain great instrumentals. But the album's finest moment is the choir-backed spiritual "The Answer," where Turner sings, "If you're lookin' for somebody you can talk to/When the heartache and the troubles overcome you/There's a man you can count on."-Wade Jessen

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