Jamey Johnson Plays Producer
Jamey Johnson is known for his songwriting and singing prowess, but as of late he's been stretching to include producing. Most recently, the 'In Color' singer teamed with gospel group the Blind Boys of Alabama for their album 'Take the High Road,' and is now working with songwriter Erin Enderlin on her debut project.
"I'm not really sure 'producing' would be the word for it," Jamey tells The Boot with a laugh. "Willie [Nelson] says, 'Being a good producer is being lucky enough to be in the right room at the right time.' I would have to agree. There are producers that seem to bring the right energy and the right ideas, and they stick with it until they get it to sound the way they envision it. I'm not sure that's what we do. We go in, all of us, catch the same vibe, catch the same spirit, and let it go. I'm not sure any part of that takes any more interaction from me expect to say, 'All right, have at it.'"
Jamey met the Blind Boys at the Alabama Hall of Fame induction, but he didn't have to go far from Nashville to meet Ms. Enderlin. "Erin I met through Moose," he explains. "Moose is a guitar and keyboard player, who I met in the studio working on demos years ago. He's one of the finest musicians I've ever met. He came in and asked, 'Want to produce a record on Erin?' I'd [known] her through the studio Nashville scene, too."
While you may not know Erin's voice just yet, you should definitely know her words. In 2004, Alan Jackson took 'Monday Morning Church,' which Erin penned with Brent Baxter, to the Top 5 on the charts.
"Erin is an incredible writer and has a great voice, and hopefully has a very promising career in country music," Jamey explains. "The album was incredible to get to work on. I was proud to get to work on it. I can't wait for everyone to hear it. It's called 'Whiskey Town Cryer,' like a newspaper."
As producer, Jamey tries to take inspiration from all genres, not just country. "When I was learning music, I learned to appreciate it all," he says. "There are all kinds of production techniques that makes great music. You've got all the way from discipline from Frank Sinatra's orchestral arrangements to the looseness of a Woody Guthrie acoustic record, they're all right. They're all great forms of music."
As Jamey branches out into other areas of the industry, there is one aspect of it that he plans to remain true to. "Songwriting is the fundamental of music," he declares. "It's not there unless someone writes it, or creates it, as the case may be."
Jamey is currently on the Country Throwdown Tour, as is Erin. Get a complete list of dates here.