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Jamey Johnson

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Jamey Johnson
Johnson in 2016
Johnson in 2016
Background information
Born (1975-07-14) July 14, 1975 (age 48)[1]
Enterprise, Alabama, U.S.
OriginMontgomery, Alabama, U.S.
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar
Years active2005–present
LabelsBNA, Mercury Nashville, Big Gassed

Jamey Johnson (born July 14, 1975) is an American country music singer and songwriter.

Signed to BNA Records in 2005, Johnson made his debut with his single "The Dollar", the title track to his 2006 album The Dollar. He was dropped from BNA in 2006 and signed to Mercury Nashville Records in March 2008, releasing his second album, the gold-certified That Lonesome Song. This album produced two singles, the top 10 hit "In Color" and "High Cost of Living". Johnson has since released two more albums, The Guitar Song in 2010 and Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran in 2012. In 2014, he released a five-song Christmas EP titled The Christmas Song. In addition to most of his own material, Johnson has co-written singles for Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, Trace Adkins, George Strait, James Otto, Joe Nichols, and Jessie James Decker.

Early life[edit]

Johnson was born on July 14, 1975, in Enterprise, Alabama, and raised in Montgomery, Alabama. From an early age, he was influenced by country acts such as Alabama and Alan Jackson; the latter was the first act he saw in concert.[3] After graduating from Jefferson Davis High School, Johnson attended Jacksonville State University, the same university from which Alabama lead singer Randy Owen graduated.[3] During his time at Jacksonville State, he was a member of the Marching Southerners.

Johnson quit college after two years and served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve for four years.[3] While in the Marines, he began playing country music in various bars in the Montgomery area; one of his first gigs was opening for David Allan Coe.[3] By 2000, Johnson had moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to pursue a career in country music. One of his first connections was with Greg Perkins, a fiddler who had played for Tanya Tucker, Tammy Wynette, and other artists. Perkins invited Johnson to sing as a duet partner with Gretchen Wilson on a demo tape.[3] Songs for which Johnson sang demos include "Songs About Me" (cut by Trace Adkins) and "That's How They Do It in Dixie" (cut by Hank Williams, Jr. with Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson, and Van Zant).[3]

Johnson had also made connections with producer and songwriter Buddy Cannon, who helped him land a songwriting contract.[4] Among Johnson's first cuts as a songwriter was "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk", which Adkins released from his 2005 album Songs About Me. That song he co-wrote along with hit songwriter Dallas Davidson and fellow country singer-songwriter Randy Houser, who later worked with Johnson again co-writing "My Cowboy" for country pop singer Jessie James for her self-titled debut album.


Career beginnings and That Lonesome Song (2005–2009)[edit]

By 2005, Johnson had been signed to a recording contract with BNA Records. His first single, entitled "The Dollar", was released that year, followed by his Buddy Cannon-produced debut album (also entitled The Dollar) in March 2006. "The Dollar" went on to peak at No. 14 on Billboard Hot Country Songs. The album's second single, "Rebelicious", failed to make the chart and Johnson was dropped from BNA.

After the loss of his record deal, Johnson divorced his wife and took on a reclusive lifestyle, residing in a friend's house while working on his songwriting.[5] He wrote several songs for other artists. In 2006, George Strait reached No. 1 on the Country chart with "Give It Away", a song which Johnson co-wrote with Bill Anderson and Cannon. This song became Strait's 51st No. 1 on the Billboard country charts, setting a new record for most No. 1s on that chart.

In 2007, Trace Adkins charted with two more songs that Johnson co-wrote: "Ladies Love Country Boys" and "I Got My Game On", the former being Adkins' first No. 1 in 10 years. Also in 2007, Joe Nichols reached Top 20 with "Another Side of You", another song co-written by Johnson. This song was the first single on Nichols's album Real Things, which also contained "She's All Lady", a song that Johnson originally recorded on The Dollar.

Johnson was part of the Fox TV television series Nashville,[6] which was cancelled after two episodes in September 2007.

Johnson performing in 2008

Johnson released an album in 2008, That Lonesome Song, which was only made available online.[5] The album drew the attention of Mercury Nashville Records, who signed him to a record deal in 2008. His first single for the label, "In Color", was released in March 2008. This song, which Johnson co-wrote with Lee Thomas Miller and James Otto, entered the Top 40 in June 2008, and That Lonesome Song was released on CD in August of that year. "In Color" peaked at No. 9 on the Country chart in January 2009 and was followed a month later by "High Cost of Living", which managed to crack the Top 40, but only reaching No. 34. By April 2009, That Lonesome Song was certified Gold by the RIAA.

A fifth single, "My Way to You", was issued in July 2009. The song was released to radio on July 13, 2009, and debuted at No. 56 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. The song peaked at No. 52 in September 2009.

Johnson was nominated for the 2009 CMA Awards New Artist of the Year, and has been nominated for the 2010 Academy of Country Music Top New Solo Vocalist.

The Guitar Song (2010–2012)[edit]

In 2010, Johnson released a follow-up to his 2008 album, That Lonesome Song. The album titled The Guitar Song was released on September 14, 2010. Upon its release, The Guitar Song was met with overwhelming praise and universal acclaim from music critics.[7] The album debuted at number four on the U.S. Billboard 200 and number one on the U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums, selling 63,000 copies its first week of release.[8]

Johnson released three singles from the album, including "Playing the Part", in summer 2010. The music video for the single was released in October, and was directed by Matthew McConaughey, who also stars in the video as a dancing gorilla.

Johnson was the supporting act on Kid Rock's 2011 Born Free Tour, accompanying Rock on a duet or two during most concerts. He was also a main stage act on Willie Nelson's Country Throwdown from May to July 2011.

Living for a Song and new label (2012–present)[edit]

In addition to producing other acts and writing new material,[9] Johnson released his fourth studio album titled Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran on October 6, 2012. The album is a tribute to songwriter Hank Cochran.[10] The album garnered Johnson a nomination at the 55th Grammy Awards for Best Country album. The album paired him with acts such as Ray Price, Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello, George Strait, Vince Gill, and Merle Haggard. Longtime collaborator and producer Buddy Cannon oversaw the project.[11] The album was released on vinyl September 25, 2012, and other formats on October 16, 2012.[12]

Following a dispute with his label, Johnson founded his own label, Big Gassed Records. His first release on the label was a Christmas-themed EP, The Christmas Song, including several covers and one new original song, which was released in November 2014. It was announced that more new music would follow in 2015.[13] In January 2015, Johnson released a new song, "Alabama Pines" as a free download.[14] This was followed by the release of another single, "You Can", in February.[15]

In a 2017 interview, Johnson stated that he had been having more difficulty with songwriting after an incident about seven years prior when he received a concussion due to slipping on ice and hitting his head.[16][17] In 2019, Johnson played alongside Don Was, Warren Haynes, Lukas Nelson, and Cyril Neville on The Last Waltz Tour, a live celebration of The Band's 1976 farewell show at the Winterland Ballroom, also known as The Last Waltz.[18][19]

On March 19, 2022, Bill Anderson invited him to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry, which he accepted; Johnson had performed regularly on the show for the previous seventeen years.[20] He was inducted on May 14, 2022.[21]

On December 15, 2023, Johnson gave the commencement speech to the 2023 Fall graduating class of Jacksonville State University and received an honorary doctorate from the school. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey proclaimed December 15 Jamey Johnson Day.[22]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart
(sales threshold)
US Country
They Call Me Country
  • Release date: October 21, 2002
  • Label: self-released
The Dollar 20 87
That Lonesome Song 6 28
The Guitar Song
  • Release date: September 14, 2010
  • Label: Mercury Nashville
1 4
Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran
  • Release date: October 16, 2012
  • Label: Mercury Nashville
3 5
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Extended plays[edit]

Title Album details Peak positions
US Country
The Christmas Song
  • Release date: November 19, 2014
  • Label: Big Gassed Records


Year Single Peak chart
Sales Certifications
(sales threshold)
US Country
2005 "The Dollar" 14 A The Dollar
2006 "Rebelicious"
2008 "In Color" 9 52 That Lonesome Song
2009 "High Cost of Living" 34
"My Way to You" 52 The Guitar Song
2010 "Playing the Part" 39
2011 "Heartache" 51
2012 "Living for a Song" Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran
2015 "Alabama Pines"
"You Can"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Music videos[edit]

Year Video Director
2006 "The Dollar" Wes Edwards
2008 "In Color" Shaun Silva
"Mowin' Down the Roses" Unknown
2010 "High Cost of Living" Clifton Collins Jr.
"Bad Angel" (with Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert) George Flanigen
"Playing the Part" Matthew McConaughey

Other appearances[edit]

Year Title Album
2010 "Cold Beer" (with Colt Ford) Ride Through the Country
"Bad Angel" (with Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert) Up on the Ridge
"Cover of The Rolling Stone" (with Sammy Kershaw) Better Than I Used to Be
"Four Walls Of Raiford" Sweet Home Alabama: A country Tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd
2011 "This Time" Music Inside – Collaboration Dedicated to Waylon Vol 1
"The Day Hank Jr. Came To Town" (with Tonya Watts) Handcuff My Soul
"Some Gave All" (with Billy Ray Cyrus, Darryl Worley, and Craig Morgan) I'm American
"Orange Man" (with Alexander King and Kris Kristofferson) Music Saved My Life EPK
"Yesterdays Wine" (with Blackberry Smoke and George Jones) Little Piece of Dixie (2010 Deluxe edition)
"Two Outta' Three Ain't Bad" Imus Ranch Record II
"Have Thine Own Way Lord" (with The Blind Boys of Alabama) Take The High Road
"La Grange" ZZ Top: A Tribute from Friends
"A Few Old Country Boys"(with Randy Travis) Anniversary Celebration
2012 "You Better Treat Your Man Right " (with Chuck Mead) Back at the Quonset Hut
"Hero" (with Willie Nelson and Billy Joe Shaver) Heroes
"Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die" (with Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, and Kris Kristofferson)
"Sunday Morning Coming Down" (with Kris Kristofferson) We Walk The Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash
"The Highwaymen" (with Kris Kristofferson, Shooter Jennings, and Willie Nelson)
2013 "My Home's In Alabama" Alabama & Friends
"Rebel Soldier" Divided & United: The Songs of the Civil War
2014 "The Git Go" (with Willie Nelson) Band of Brothers
2015 "If I Was Over You" (with Amanda Watkins) *
"Brain Cloudy Blues" (with Ray Benson) Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys
"Old Wore out Cowboys" (with Willie Nelson & Ward Davis ) 15 Years in a 10 Year Town
2016 "Actin' Crazy" (with Randy Rogers Band) Nothing Shines Like Neon
"Mama's Table" Dave Cobb's Southern Family
2017 "Freedom To Stay" Outlaw: Celebrating the Music of Waylon Jennings
"I Ain't The One" (with Alison Krauss)
"Highwaymen" (with Shooter Jennings, Kris Kristoferson, and Willie Nelson )
"Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)" (with Shooter Jennings, Ryan Bingham, Kacey Musgraves, Lee Ann Womack, Chris Stapleton Alison Krauss, Toby Keith Kris Kristoferson, and Willie Nelson, [[Eric)
2018 "The Ghost of Macon Jones" (with Joe Bonamassa) Redemption
"Spirit Rider" Forever Words
"Everybody Wants to Be Twenty-One" (with Bill Anderson) Anderson
"Wrong End Of The Rainbow" (with Chris Hennessee) Ramble
"Husbands and Wives" (with Emmylou Harris) King of the Road: A Tribute to Roger Miller
"It Hurts Me Too" Strange Angels: In Flight with Elmore James
2019 "The Fields Of Athenry" The Great Irish Songbook
2020 "Ladies Love Outlaws" (with Mickey Lamantia) Honky Tonk Confessions: The Final Chapter
"The Cock Crows" (with Mo Pitney) Ain't Lookin' Back
"A Music Man" (with Nick Norman) Nick Norman
"Some Gave All" (with Billy Ray Cyrus, Darryl Worley, and Craig Morgan) I'm American
"Kern River" Sing Me Back Home: The Music Of Merle Haggard
"Georgia on My Mind" Willie Nelson: American Outlaw
"Spirit Rider" Johnny Cash: Forever Words Expanded
"California Poem'
2021 "Lonesome for a Livin'" (with Blackberry Smoke) You Hear Georgia
"To All The Girls I've Loved Before" (with Rual Malo) Quarantunes Vol. 1
"Highway Feet" (with Larry Fleet) Stack of Records
2022 "Stubborn Pride'" (with Zac Brown Band) The Comeback
"If I Needed You" (with Rachel Bradshaw) Rachel Bradshaw
"Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Is In)" Kenny Rogers: All In For The Gambler
"Sweet Music Man"
"Music City's Killing Me" (with Julie Roberts) TBA
"I'm Just an Old Chunk of Coal (But I'm Gonna Be a Diamond Someday)" Something Borrowed, Something New: A Tribute to John Anderson

Awards and nominations[edit]

Johnson received three Grammy Award nominations at the 51st Grammy Awards: Best Country Album for That Lonesome Song, and Best Country Song and Best Male Country Vocal Performance for "In Color".[32] "In Color" won the Academy of Country Music's 2009 award for Song of the Year and the same award during the 2009 Country Music Association Awards. Going into 2010, Johnson received two more Grammy Award nominations for the 52nd Grammy Awards: Best Country Song and Best Male Country Vocal Performance, both for his 2009 single "High Cost of Living".[33]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2007 Academy of Country Music Song of the Year – Give It Away Won
Country Music Association Song of the Year – "Give It Away" Won
2009 51st Grammy Awards Best Country Album – That Lonesome Song Nominated
Best Country Song – "In Color" Nominated
Best Male Country Vocal Performance – "In Color" Nominated
Academy of Country Music Song of the Year – "In Color" Won
Top New Male Artist Nominated
Top Album of the Year – That Lonesome Song Nominated
Country Music Association Song of the Year – "In Color" Won
Single of the Year – "In Color" Nominated
New Artist of the Year Nominated
Album of the Year – That Lonesome Song Nominated
2010 52nd Grammy Awards Best Country Song – "High Cost of Living" Nominated
Best Male Country Vocal Performance – "High Cost of Living" Nominated
Academy of Country Music Top New Solo Vocalist Nominated
Country Music Association Awards Musical Event – "Bad Angel" (with Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert) Nominated
2011 53rd Grammy Awards Best Male Country Vocal Performance – "Macon" Nominated
Best Country Collaboration with Vocals – "Bad Angel" (with Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert) Nominated
Best Country Album – The Guitar Song Nominated
2013 55th Grammy Awards Best Country Album – Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran Nominated


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  2. ^ "On the Beat: Jamey Johnson to bring true outlaw country to Bourbon". Lincoln Journal-Star. October 19, 2018. Retrieved July 25, 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Morris, Edward (March 7, 2006). "Jamey Johnson Stirs Fans With "The Dollar"". Country Music Television. Archived from the original on May 10, 2019. Retrieved March 28, 2008.
  4. ^ Monger, James Christopher. "Jamey Johnson biography". Allmusic. Retrieved March 28, 2008.
  5. ^ a b Tucker, Ken (July 1, 2008). "Singer Johnson starts fresh after "Lonesome" time". Yahoo! News. Retrieved July 25, 2008. [dead link]
  6. ^ "TV Preview – Nashville". Entertainment Weekly. September 1, 2007. Archived from the original on January 26, 2009. Retrieved August 15, 2008.
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  8. ^ Caulfield, Keith (September 2, 2010). "Linkin Park and Trey Songz Debut At Nos. 1 & 2 on Billboard 200". Billboard. Archived from the original on June 23, 2013. Retrieved September 22, 2010.
  9. ^ Skates, Sarah (May 24, 2011). "Jamey Johnson Plans New Album, Produces Other Artists". MusicRow. Archived from the original on May 11, 2012. Retrieved June 17, 2012.
  10. ^ "Jamey Johnson Album, 'Hank Cochran: Living for a Song' Due October 16". Theboot.com. July 31, 2012. Archived from the original on May 22, 2013. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  11. ^ Betts, Stephen (March 29, 2012). "Jamey Johnson Duets Album Pays Tribute to Hank Cochran". The Boot. Archived from the original on July 19, 2012. Retrieved June 17, 2012.
  12. ^ "Jamey Johnson salutes iconic country songwriter Hank Cochran with star-studded duets album". The Washington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved July 31, 2012. [dead link]
  13. ^ "Jamey Johnson Reveals Surprise Christmas EP and Reveals New Indie Direction". Rolling Stone. November 24, 2014. Archived from the original on December 3, 2014. Retrieved November 27, 2014.
  14. ^ Bjorke, Matt (January 3, 2015). "Get a Jamey Johnson Single for Free". Roughstock. Archived from the original on January 5, 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  15. ^ Dunkerley, Beville (February 10, 2015). "Jamey Johnson Goes 'Big Band Meets Vaudeville' on New Song 'You Can'". Rollingstone.com. Archived from the original on February 12, 2015. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
  16. ^ Whitaker, Sterling (June 14, 2017). "Jamey Johnson Cites Years-Old Concussion for Lack of Songs". Taste of Country. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  17. ^ Bray, Jessica (June 11, 2017). "Jamey Johnson reflects on his relationship with God, family, and fans". Kentucky Country Music. Archived from the original on June 16, 2017. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  18. ^ "The Last Waltz 40 Tour 2019". Blackbirdpresents.com. Archived from the original on January 10, 2020. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  19. ^ "Warren Haynes, John Medeski, More Open 'The Last Waltz Tour 2019' At The Capitol Theatre [Videos]". L4LM. November 6, 2019. Archived from the original on December 12, 2019. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  20. ^ Leimkuehler, Matthew (March 20, 2022). "Jamey Johnson invited to become newest Grand Ole Opry member". The Tennessean. Retrieved March 20, 2022.
  21. ^ "Jamey Johnson". Grand Ole Opry. Retrieved June 25, 2022.
  22. ^ "Jamey Johnson Receives Honorary Doctorate from Jacksonville State University During Jamey Johnson Day in Alabama". Jamey Johnson's official website. December 18, 2023. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  23. ^ a b "Billboard Country Albums – Jamey Johnson". Billboard. Retrieved September 16, 2010.
  24. ^ "Billboard 200 – Jamey Johnson". Billboard. Retrieved September 16, 2010.
  25. ^ "American album certifications – Jamey Johnson – That Lonesome Song". Recording Industry Association of America.
  26. ^ "American album certifications – Jamey Johnson – The Guitar Song". Recording Industry Association of America.
  27. ^ "Billboard Country Songs – Jamey Johnson". Billboard. Retrieved September 16, 2010.
  28. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 – Jamey Johnson". Billboard. Retrieved September 16, 2010.
  29. ^ Bjorke, Matt (February 16, 2016). "The Top 30 Digital Country Singles: February 16, 2016". Roughstock. Archived from the original on February 25, 2016. Retrieved March 4, 2016.
  30. ^ "American single certifications – Jamey Johnson – In Color". Recording Industry Association of America.
  31. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 211. ISBN 978-0-89820-177-2.
  32. ^ "THE 51ST ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS NOMINATIONS LIST". Grammy Award. December 4, 2008. Archived from the original on December 5, 2008. Retrieved December 4, 2008.
  33. ^ "THE 52ND ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS NOMINATIONS LIST". Grammy Award. December 2, 2009. Archived from the original on December 3, 2009. Retrieved December 3, 2009.

External links[edit]