Though it never reached Number One, Josh Turner’s song “Time Is Love” turned out to the most popular country song of 2012, according to Billboard.

First released in January, the song appears on Turner’s latest album Punching Bag. “Time Is Love” reached Number Two on the Country Songs Chart. The fact that it wound up as the most-played single despite never topping that chart is unusual, too–the only other song to earn that distinction was Lee Brice’s “Love Like Crazy,” the most popular country song of 2010.

“Time Is Love” is one of the few tracks on Punching Bag that Josh didn’t have a hand in writing. As he explained to CBS Local, though, he instantly knew the song would be a hit.

“[It’s] just a great song first of all and I knew it from the first time I heard it,” he said. “It’s one of those songs that just really sticks in your head.”

Josh said initially it was the message behind the song that struck him.

“Basically that message is leaning your priorities towards those people or that person that you love and actually spending quantity time with that person,” he said. “You hear about quality time a lot but I really think that quantity time with a person is really what strengthens a relationship. That’s when you really get to know somebody. You get to know their strengths and their weaknesses and that brings you closer. That’s what ‘Time Is Love’ is all about. It was a pretty easy decision on my part.”

“After I heard it the first time I knew that it had all those ingredients of a hit song. The other thing that appealed to me about it was that it was very different from anything I had ever done, especially musically,” he confessed. “So I was really interested to see how we could get into the studio and really transform this into a Josh Turner song. I feel like we did it in a great way and it was a hit.”

And that it was. So, what is it about the song that made country fans gravitate to it?

“The country fan base is all about family and their country and those down home American values,” Josh said. “So, when they hear a song like ‘Time Is Love’ they take that message and they relate it to their life in their own individual way.”

Often the fans share their own take on the song with Josh and one woman’s tale struck a chord.

“I had a woman down in Texas who was in a wheelchair she asked me if she could share her ‘Time Is Love’ story and I said, ‘Please do.’ At that time ‘Time Is Love’ had only been on the charts for about a month and nobody had ever shared a story about that single with me.”

Josh went on to learn that the woman’s husband had been put into ICU and had a life threatening illness so she was only allowed to visit him 15 minutes every day and every time she would leave the last thing she would say to him is, ‘Gotta run.’

“She was saying, ‘To us, time was love. Fifteen minutes a day we soaked up every bit of that time together that we could get,’” Josh recalled. “She was driving home one day from the hospital and she heard ‘Time Is Love’ come on the radio and she said, ‘I just broke down crying because that was our story. For us, time was love. Not only that, but every day I told him, ‘Hey, gotta run’ and you were singing those exact words in the song.'”

Often it’s the fans that put new meaning into his songs.

“It was pretty cool to hear a different twist on that,” Josh admitted. “That’s what I love about my job. I can look at a song one way but when I release it and the fans get to hear it they get to make it a part of their life and they share their stories with me and I start seeing the song in a whole other way.

“I think that makes me a better artist and it makes me understand my fans more and it makes me understand what they relate to, what makes them tick, what makes them happy and so I’m able to put better music on my record each time one comes around.”

-Annie Reuter and Kurt Wolff, CBS Local


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