Josh Turner’s fifth album, Punching Bag, opens with a Michael Buffer “Let’s get ready to rumble” introduction of Turner as a country music fighting superstar, leading into the album’s fastest-paced song, the title track. The gist of the song is that he’s a punching bag who you can beat up and he’ll take it. He’ll take every barb, punch, and breakup.
Josh Turner had number one hits prior to Haywire but that 2010 set had two chart-toppers -- the swinging "Why Don't We Just Dance" and "All Over Me" -- and not long after its release, American Idol contestant (and eventual winner) Scotty McCreery patterned himself after Turner, singing his "Your Man" and "Long Black Train," pushing his idol into the spotlight. And Punching Bag, his 2012 sequel to Haywire, certainly is polished like a pop record, its surfaces bright and filled with gimmicks, all beginning with ringside announcer Michael Buffer opening the proceedings and running right through Turner's bottomless baritone dip as he sings that there's nothing "Deeper Than My Love. " Also, there is the faint but evident trace of Auto-Tune throughout, popping up most glaringly on a chorus of singing babies that turns the already cloying "Find Me a Baby" into a stomach-churningly sweet concoction.
Boxing announcer Michael Buffer bellows his signature “Let’s get ready to rumble!” as an introduction to country singer Josh Turner’s fifth album, Punching Bag, suggesting that perhaps the doggedly modest singer has recorded something with a bit more fight to it. That quickly proves not to be the case, as Turner settles back into a comfortable and familiar style that balances traditional country conventions with slickly modern recording techniques. But while the misdirections from the title and Buffer’s intro make for a mild disappointment, it’s Turner’s adherence to formula and some lapses in the quality of his performances that are Punching Bag‘s more significant problems.
GRACE POTTER AND THE NOCTURNALS “The Lion the Beast the Beat” (Hollywood) Maybe it was Kenny Chesney who found the darkness inside Grace Potter. A couple of years ago the breezy country beach bum took a turn to the self-lacerating on “You and Tequila,” one of the most devastating songs of his career. It was a duet about love and addiction, shared with Ms.