A fan of Hank Williams', he crafted "Long Black Train" based on Williams' song "The Devil's Train." That was the time he didn't have any record contract and he would not have even thought that it would give him his career breakthrough.
Josh's writing of the track was the result of the vision he once had of a long black train and the people ‘round about it. He interpreted it as a metaphor for life’s various temptations and the decisions we make that leads us into destruction.
In 2004, ICMA (Inspirational Country Music Awards) named "Long Black Train" as "Song of the Year." After the initial success came, more hits including “Your Man” (2006), "Firecracker" (2007), "Why Don't We Just Dance" (2010) and "Time is Love" (2012) followed.
Country legend Johnny Cash transitioned from a pure, mainstream Country artist to a gospel singer in his later years. Josh Turner, on the other hand, is doing the opposite. He started with a faith song and as gratitude to his Savior, he intends to keep writing such.
Notwithstanding, he said that he isn't a gospel singer. Rather, he is a Christian Country singer which means that he won’t be restricted by any sub-genre. He’ll sing and record both gospel and mainstream materials. What sets him apart from those who don’t share his convictions is the way he manages his fame. He keeps a close watch to himself so he won't trip into compromising his values.
"..no drinking on the bus, or on the road period, no bringing women on the bus and that kind of stuff. I care about my reputation....my legacy that I’m leaving, not only for my fans, but for my wife and my children and my grandchildren.
And like Johnny Cash, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Ferlin Husky, and Red Foley, Turner refused to believe that faith-songs have no place in the music industry.
“I’ve been mocked a lot. I’ve been made fun of, .., of the standards that I keep out,..the way I conduct my business and myself and the way I behave in this business.”
As for his debut song, “Long Black Train,” Turner attributed it as a gift from God. Thus, he’ll want to be responsible and careful about his reputation.
“I love Jesus Christ with all my heart and everything He stands for...that sums up everything that I want for my life, everything I want for my family, everything I want for my career...” (ref: CBN)