Fueled by national TV guest spots, a hit video and a No. 1 single with “Why Don’t We Just Dance?,” MCA Nashville’s Josh Turner debuts on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart at No. 2 and on the Billboard 200 at No. 5 with his fourth album, “Haywire.” The Feb. 9 release also marks the singer/songwriter’s third straight top 10 album.
Following street-week appearances on “Late Show With David Letterman” and “The Martha Stewart Show,” Turner says of the new album, “We chose songs that fit my style and tie me back to my traditional roots. But it’s also different in that I feel the subject matter goes a little deeper about love and relationships. I challenged myself more vocally than I have in the past.”
Turner debuted in 2003 with the hit single “Long Black Train,” which propelled sales of his same-titled first album past platinum. His 2006 double-platinum second set, “Your Man,” spawned two No. 1s-the title track and “Would You Go With Me.” And his third album, 2007’s “Everything Is Fine,” served up the hit “Firecracker.” The same creative team for those three albums, including producer Frank Rogers, was in place for “Haywire.” (“Josh Turner” was co-produced by Rogers and Mark Wright.)
“I have known Frank since I recorded ‘Long Black Train,’ ” says Turner, who, like Rogers, is from South Carolina. “Frank really understands what I am trying to achieve as an artist and a singer. He knows how to capture my sound even when I don’t.”
“Haywire” is Turner’s first album to be available as a deluxe edition. In addition to the 11 songs featured on the standard release, the deluxe version offers live versions of “Long Black Train” and “Your Man,” as well as two previously unreleased tracks. The first, “Let’s Find a Church,” was recorded during the “Long Black Train” sessions. The second,”This Kind of Love,” was cut for “Haywire.” Turner, who either wrote or co-wrote six of the songs on the deluxe set, says songwriting is important to him because “it lets people hear my heart.”
The deluxe package also features the video for “Why Don’t We Just Dance” and behind-the-scenes interview footage. “The deluxe version is making a good impact,” Universal Music Group Nashville executive VP/GM Ken Robold says. “We thought it would be a 75/25 split between the regular and deluxe. But in some accounts, the deluxe is performing as well as the regular.”
TV is another major factor in the album’s success. Turner is the Great American Country network’s February artist of the month, a campaign that was complemented by a countdown to Valentine’s Day promotion on GAC. Catering to Turner’s large female fan base, UMGN ran another Valentine’s Day-related campaign on DirecTV. Supplementing ads on Oxygen, ABC Family, HGTV and other networks were a series of syndicated radio spots. To reach Turner’s large number of fans in the 13-17 age group, Robold says the label’s marketing plan included a push on Facebook, Google, iTunes, Yahoo and other online sites.