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Why Josh Turner took 20 years to record a Christmas album

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Josh Turner released his very first Christmas album two months before his 20th birthday as a performer on the Grand Ole Opry. Eight studio albums – including a gospel and cover album – came in between, but the singer insists he wasn’t avoiding the project.

Quite the contrary, in fact.

Turner – including 11 songs King Size Feeder album arrived in October – has fond memories of Christmas growing up in Hannah, SC, and as a person who grew up in the church, he treasured the traditional classics. With an entire family ready to record and tour with him to support the project, the time was right.

“There was no twist of my arm for that,” he said Taste of rural nights host Evan Paul during a sit-down filmed at Table of contents nights studio. “I wanted to make it my whole career.”

VIDEO HERE

Traditional songs like “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “Go Tell It on the Mountain” are accompanied by collaborations on “Joy to the World” with Rhonda Vincent and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” with Turner’s wife and his four sons. Then there are the originals, like the title song, “What He’s Given Me” and “Soldier’s Gift”. Click play above to hear how “Mele Kalikamaka My’Ohana” was inspired by his wife Jennifer.

“I had to explain to people,” Turner begins, “when you come to Nashville and you’re looking for a recording deal and you’re trying to establish yourself, you don’t think, ‘Dude, I wanna go to Nashville and make a Christmas record. ‘”

So that wasn’t a priority at first, but as Turner’s career developed and he landed eight No.1s. Billboard Hits Country Airplay, he found himself with time and a lot of ideas. In fact, a three-hour planning session with her producer left her counterpart a little overwhelmed. Apparently, with Josh Turner, it’s impossible to put the Christmas genie back in the bottle once it’s out.

During the full interview, Turner opens up about his idyllic Christmases as a kid and how he and Jennifer celebrate with their growing family (spoiler alert: his tour is a family affair). The 44-year-old also talks about his favorite song to play live and the song that gives trouble every time.

See the best country Christmas songs of all time, ranked

This list of the best Christmas country songs has been compiled by mixing staff opinion, reader reviews, and broadcast and sales data.