Josh Turner has not even hit 40 yet, but the tall dark and handsome singer with the velvet baritone has been a fixture in country music for over 15 years. His 2003 monster hit, “Long Black Train” took everyone in the music world for a ride, and reminded them to think about heaven and hell. He never stops performing, and always has a soft spot for the “Today” show, so he stopped by for the fourth hour of the morning show on Mar. 14, and explained how creating his latest album, Deep South,” released March 10, was anything but a slow ride, despite being four years in the making.

A full four years

Free minutes are a precious commodity for Josh Turner, but the singer-songwriter set aside a full hour for co-hosting with Jenna Bush Hager. Just as the hour was full of everything from “pizza chicken” recipes, to a recap of “The Bachelor” season finale, to a chat with Marilu Henner, Josh Turner detailed that his for years in creating “Deep South” were full of major life events.

First among them was becoming a father to a fourth son, Samuel, in September of 2014, and “a new baby readjusts everything in life,” especially when the oldest son, Hampton, is just 8. In between creating and coming to just the few perfect songs for the album, “I wrote a book,” Turner reminds. That book, Man Stuff, became a sort of legacy for his own sons and to his father, as well as friendly counsel to others.

John Lennon beautifully described that “Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans,” and Josh Turner has only fed off life events to bring a relevant, and reminiscent, tone to “Deep South.” For a while longer, the Turner tour bus will be a little quieter, “so I’ll sleep a little better,” Josh admitted to Jenna, with toddlers being too young for the rigors of the road.

Staying true to roots

Some reviews have taken the stance that “Deep South” is too “new country” for the artist who gained his following from being a traditionalist. The album does embrace a more free-spirited, easy tone, and simultaneously exalts everything about home life and family roots. Josh Turner’s already Top 15 single, “Hometown Girl,” which he performed to close the hour, credits “the girl across the street” the one who can “rise and shine and hang all night” as the verses sing.

The core of the album remains true to Turner's core values, perhaps because he reconnected with producer, Frank Rogers, on the project, and the established relationship can’t help but ring through every song. Marilu Henner is well known for her remarkable memory, and the actress couldn’t help but share with Josh that he conjured comparisons with Trace Adkins for her.

Josh teased back about being shorter and better looking, but he’ll take being in good country music company. He’s the one with the new songs and hometown longings now.