Jamey Johnson Gets a ‘Wink’ From Matthew McConaughey
When Jamey Johnson decided to shoot a music video for his song, ‘Playing the Part,’ from his critically-acclaimed double album, ‘The Guitar Song,’ they recruited some major star power for the clip: actor Matthew McConaughey.
Picking a high-profile actor who has an extensive film background (‘The Wedding Planner,’ ‘How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days’) to direct this video proved to be a smart, creative move. Matthew set out to make sure it wasn’t just an ordinary music video.
“Jamey and this song both have a great sense of humor, so I wanted the video to have a ‘wink’ to it,” says the actor. “This is a story with a beginning, middle and a surprise at the end. I started out with a 250-pound stripper leaving work in the morning, and ended up with a man in a gorilla suit getting fired from a used tire store.” (See the video below.)
Matthew wanted the video to support the lyrics and elevate the song. “For any video, if you like the song, you should like it even more after you see the video,” he says.
When the former ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ (People magazine, 2005) mentioned to Jamey that the video would be pretty ‘carney,’ Jamey was right on board. “Get as ‘carney’ as you want,” he laughed.
Matthew and Jamey have become fast friends over the years. When the actor first heard Jamey’s music on an AM radio station in his brother Rooster’s barn, it got his attention. “We’re in this little barn, and it was echoing from this tiny radio,” remembers Matthew. “I said, ‘Damn, this is a good song, Rooster.’”
Rooster agreed, telling his famous brother that the song was called ‘In Color.’ Not knowing who the artist was, they looked it up to find out it was Jamey. “I went immediately and bought Jamey’s album and said, ‘This album is an instant classic,’” notes Matthew.
Matthew had the pleasure of meeting his new favorite country artist during the 2009 Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas, where Jamey received the Song of the Year award for ‘In Color.’ “I met Jamey backstage,” Matthew recalls. “He hit on (girlfriend) Camilla, we shared a few laughs, and we stayed in touch.”
A few months later, Camilla secretly asked Jamey to perform at Matthew’s 40th birthday party. They made small talk which led Matthew — a Texas native — to invite Jamey — an Alabama native — to the Texas-Alabama national championship football game. The two men made a bet: the loser would donate money to the winner’s favorite charity. When Alabama took the title, Jamey asked Matthew to donate his winnings to Gamblers Anonymous. After discovering the organization didn’t accept donations, Jamey let him off the hook if he would publicly announce that he lost the bet … which he did in a magazine.
After Jamey completed his album, he called his Hollywood friend to ask if he would direct the video for his new single. After listening to it, Matthew found his angle. “I had a few initial ideas,” he recalled, “but after Jamey and I talked about why he wrote it and where the song came from, it was clear that it needed a man in a monkey suit.”
When asked how he felt working with his friend, Jamey responded, “I don’t think I could have dreamed anything better.”