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When Ronnie Van Zandt told producer Al Kooper to “turn it up” at the start of “Sweet Home
Alabama,” it was a moment of sheer confidence. What Lynyrd Skynyrd was about to lay down was
burning, powerful stuff, and Van Zandt knew the sound needed to be loud and proud.
It’s that same spirit that led Josh Thompson to title his first Show Dog-Universal Music project
Turn It Up. It’s a modern, kickin’ country party album, with plenty of swagger, plenty of energy and
plenty of blue-collar, hammer-swingin’, fist-pumpin’ attitude.
“It’s just really all-encompassing,” Thompson says of the Turn It Up banner. “Not only turn up
this record, but turn up the way you live your life, turn up the crazy, turn up the feel-good, turn up the
The album turns up all those dials, beginning with the opening “Down For A Get Down,” a
clanging Friday-night anthem that rings true for small-town country boys and big-city prima donas. It
winds through the searing title track, the Southern-rocker “You Wanted Me Gone” and the snarling
working-class closer, “Hank Crankin’ People.” The album grinds out its hard-won spirit while still paying
homage to the solid-country tradition from which Thompson’s music has grown. “Cold Beer With Your
Name On It” has all the relationship drama of a classic George Jones & Tammy Wynette song, while “A
Little Memory” possesses the adult self-reflection that made country such an important piece of heartland
Turn It Up is bound to invigorate Thompson’s fans. It’s already got Thompson and his roadwarrior
band kicking it into high gear on the road, where they frequently sell out frenzied clubs and
theaters in their own headlining dates. Even if he finds himself opening arena or amphitheaters for
someone else, the music guarantees that his set throws down the gauntlet.
“We still do a lot of opening shows, so we’ve gotta be in your face,” he concedes. “We have to
whoop the next guy’s ass. It’s just the way that it is.”