In the spring of 2008, I received a call from Brian Jennings, the program director of WGAR, the country radio station in Cleveland. A new artist was going to be visiting the station and was interested in visiting the Museum. That was the first time I met Jamey Johnson. There’s no doubt upon meeting Jamey is that he is the real deal, a sincere and true artist who has a deep and abiding respect for the true soul of music. If you’ve heard any of his records, you know what I mean. We had a great time that day walking around the museum talking about all kinds of music and bonding over our mutual love for Hank Williams, Sr. Jamey, like ol’ Hank, is from Montgomery, Alabama. We’ve kept in touch periodically through email and it’s been very satisfying to see him achieve the level of success and volume of accolades he has earned.
Last week an email shows up from Jamey saying he was in town to play at the House of Blues (a gig I was embarrassingly unaware of) and wanted to know if he could bring over a few friends. About 30 minutes later, Jamey and a group of folks from his touring group, including his daughter Kylie, came by for a tour. When a guy like Jamey Johnson says he could spend two days here, it makes you feel like you’re doing something right.
For many people, there’s a chasm between rock and roll and country. Well, one (rock and roll) doesn’t exist without the other (country). If you can appreciate great songwriting and an emotive voice in the tradition of Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and Johnny Paycheck, I urge you to seek out Jamey Johnson’s new CD, The Guitar Song, on Mercury Nashville.