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Josh Turner’s ‘King Size Manger’ isn’t your average Christmas album

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David McClister

Josh Turner put out his first-ever holiday album, King Size Manger, in 2021, but the singer says it’s not quite a traditional Christmas record. On the contrary, he incorporated some major stylistic switch-ups.

“[I] was trying to stay away from all the jazzy chord progressions, and the string sections, and the horn sections, and the ‘Jingle Bells’ — you know, all the stuff that you are used to hearing in a Christmas record,” Josh explains.

Four songs on the 11-track collection are brand-new originals. Even the classic songs on the album are full of the singer’s own personality: For example, his rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” features his wife, Jennifer, and their four sons.

The whole family joined Josh onstage to perform that song during his Opry Country Christmas show earlier this month. The same night, he also sang “Joy to the World,” another track that gets a wildly creative re-working on King Size Manger.

“Everybody knows that song. But have you ever heard it as a shuffle, with twin fiddles and Rhonda Vincent singing background vocals?” Josh jokes. “I don’t think so. And then it modulates twice. I mean, you feel like you’re in a Texas honky-tonk.”

King Size Manger is available now. Josh is currently giving the album the live treatment with his Holiday & The Hits Tour, which runs through a December 21 show in Knoxville, Tennessee.

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