Wednesday, December 22, 2010


With country music, artists usually appeal to either the Nashville establishment, or to non-country fans.  On one hand, you have George Strait and Alan Jackson, huge stars in country music who sell millions of albums. On the other Willie Nelson or Lucinda Williams, who are considered country, but they don't seem to be too popular with country music fans. Jamey Johnson seems to appeal to both sides. I don't think he even thinks that when he writes his songs and records his albums.

A lot of people (myself included) first took note on his 2008 album That Lonesome Song (which included the incredible song "In Color"). His latest, a double album (!) called The Guitar Song, really blew me away. He curated a great album where all 25 (!) songs ring true. He co-wrote most of them, but he also does some well selected interpretations, starting with the first song, a cover of Keith Whitley's "Lonely At The Top," were he kind of pokes fun of his own complaining about stardom.

Dude is really way too badass to fit in with the Nashville establishment (I am not trying to talk smack about Nashville, but he just ain't Kenny Chesney) but he certainly isn't rolling with NPR (he smacks down blue states a few times on the album, notably on "California Riots" and "Playing The Part").  I think he's always going to be a loner, which means he'll always be singing from the perspective of an outsider.  I think this guy is going to be around for a long time, and hopefully he'll be able to top this album. But it won't be easy.

Check out: "Lonely At The Top," "Cover Your Eyes" ( I can imagine James Hetfield covering this), "Poor Man Blues," "Playing The Part," "Baby Don't Cry," "The Guitar Song," "Macon"

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