Josh Turner’s “Long Black Train” is a life-changing song that earned him a record deal and the breakthrough hit of his career. The song was written by Turner himself, inspired by Hank Williams‘ train songs that he used to listen to in the library.
In interviews, Josh Turner recounted the story of a vision he had of a long, black train that ran down the track way out in the middle of nowhere with people standing out at the sides just watching the train go by. As he experienced the vision, he kept asking himself what it meant when it dawned on him that the train was the metaphor for temptation.
As the opening lyrics said, “There’s a long black train coming down the line / Feeding off the souls that are lost and cryin’ / Rails of sin only evil remains.”
And the people standing by were those who were caught up deciding whether they should go or not go. At that time, he was like those people trying to figure out who they are and what they had to do in life.
The song was so special to him, and he felt like God gave it to him for a purpose. True enough, the song went to inspire a lot of people and even won the Song of the Year award at the 2004 Inspiration Country Music Awards.
He debuted the song in 2001 at the Grand Ole Opry. Two years later, he released it as the title track and second single of his debut album of the same name. It peaked at number 13 on the country charts and in 2006, it was certified Gold by the RIAA.
“Long Black Train” by Josh Turner is one of the Josh Turner songs that showed another side of him. At first, he thought no one would listen to it because it’s old-fashioned, but it rolled across the radio, breathed inspiration to anyone who got to listen to it, and became one of his biggest hits. Watch it in the video below.