Jamey Johnson, ‘In Color’ — Story Behind the Song
Veteran music journalist Jake Brown spoke to a wide variety of the top songwriters in Nashville for his new book, 'Nashville Songwriter: The Inside Stories Behind Country Music’s Greatest Hits.'
Brown got the scoop from Craig Wiseman, Bob DiPiero, Bill Anderson, Tom Shapiro, Kelley Lovelace, Rivers Rutherford, Tom T. Hall, Chris Dubois, Dallas Davidson, David Lee Murphy, Brett James, Ashley Gorley and Neil Thrasher, among others, taking a look at the writing process behind some of the most popular songs in classic and contemporary country. The book is available here.
In this exclusive video, Lee Thomas Miller talks about writing Jamey Johnson's 'In Color,' which won Song of the Year at the ACM and CMA Awards in 2008 and 2009, respectively, and was certified gold in 2010.
"You look for the phrase that gives you a reason to write a song," says Miller. "And I was telling Jamey a story about some event that I'd been to, and it was a story ... about Nashville back in the '60s and some pictures in black and white ... I'm talking, and he's kind of zoned out ... and he said, 'There's your idea. You think that's somethin', you should've seen it in color.'"
Miller admits, "Those ideas are hard to come by ... At that point, just don't mess it up; just write it correctly."
Although it took some time, Miller and Johnson, along with James Otto, were able to connect and write the song. The three began talking about their own grandparents, and the song stemmed from memories of their grandfathers.
"In a lot of ways, it's a song about our grandfathers," Miller says.
'In Color' landed on Johnson's 2008 'That Lonesome Song' album and garnered a Grammy nomination. The 38-year-old hasn't released an album of original material in four years, but he's focusing on the bright side, regardless of where his career takes him.
"I’m going to focus on approaching everything in my life with an attitude of gratitude and see where that gets me,” he maintains. “There’s gonna be a lot of traveling, music, friends and family. And then, we’ll see."