Evangelical Love Man Turns On White Noise Machine

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Born-again country music Valentino Josh Turner is so clean-cut he makes future U.S. president Tim McGraw look like Ratso Rizzo. There's a future for him as a Great Clips model, or as vice president (though maybe not with Democrat McGraw). Or as a sex therapist. His rubbery baritone, a compromise between Randy Travis and Conway Twitty, is the sort of instrument that breaks up (or sustains) suburban marriages. Listening to the lovey-dovey highlights from his latest album, Your Man, this fanciful reviewer is reminded of the time he trained a secret camera on the marital bed of an especially charming Baptist youth minister. In an era larded with stripping anthems, the beautiful "No Rush" is music by which to slowly remove ribbed turtlenecks, and the R&B-aware title track succeeds at being both tasteful and horny.

The rest of the album peaks at pretty good and bottoms out at sort of yucky. "Baby's Gone Home to Mama" rhymes "mama" with "Nostradamus," and could be called "funky" without doing severe violence to the word's pedigree. But "Me and God," featuring bluegrass Methuselah Ralph Stanley, reduces 2000 years of good and bad Christian theology to a two-star buddy movie. And then there's "White Noise," a duet with the sometimes-great John Anderson. I had assumed that the tune would be country's first response to Don DeLillo's like-titled novel, but it turns out to be a celebration of the Anglo-Saxon man's C&W hegemony. The tune (sample lyric: "Take me where those honkies are a tonkin'") intends to be playful more than exclusionary (the pair name-checks Charley Pride and alludes to Hispanic [correction: Irish-Filipino--see comment below] country singer Neal McCoy, both of whom are apparently honorary white boys), but that doesn't mean that David Duke won't get a kick out of it. Plus, it ain't even all that tonkin'. --Dylan Hicks


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