Jamey Johnson’s Not Crafting Musical Prozac
Jamey Johnson is certainly living the high life these days. Nominated for a total of five Grammy awards for his hit album, 'That Lonesome Song,' his honest and compelling tunes have earned him a slot as one of country's biggest stars.
The prolific songwriter, who wrote all but two songs on his latest project, including his top ten hit, 'In Color,' has a Grammy nod this year for another track off the CD, 'High Cost of Living.' The song, which was not a success at radio, deals with subject matter -- drug use and prostitutes -- that most artists would stay far away from. But Jamey isn't most artists.
"Music can't be Prozac," he tells GAC. "You can't just sing somebody into bein' in a good mood on the way to work. It ain't gonna happen. I'm not sayin' a guy that's in a good mood don't deserve his song, too. But what about the couple that's goin' through hell, and nobody knows that they have to put on a front when they're out in public and smile and look like everything's cool, and then they get home and throw dishes at each other 'till they go to sleep? What about those guys? They need to be fed, too. Just to know that they're not alone sometimes just makes 'em a little more calm about it. You just lay back a little bit -- 'I'm not crazy. Somebody else is doin' it, too.'"
'The High Cost of Living' is proof positive that Jamey is more interested in his fans than any commercial success. "I wanted the people who plug this thing in -- it's probably the most hardcore song on the album in terms of content -- but I wanted you to know this album wasn't put together cause we thought we could get it on the radio, and it wasn't put together because we thought it was super-commercial. There's a lot of things that this album covers that aren't necessarily popular topics, cause nobody wants to deal with 'em. But they're there, you know."
Jamey, who has also penned songs for other artists, including George Strait, James Otto and Trace Adkins (the smash, 'Honky Tonk Badonkadonk),' is hitting the road this spring as part of the 'Rowdy Friends' tour with Hank Williams, Jr., Eric Church and the Grascals.