Last week, another one of my new favorites of 2008 made his debut on Letterman. Check out Jamey Johnson above, and check out his 2008 debut album That Lonesome Song. This album will more than likely be in my top albums of '08 (list to come). "In Color", the song performed above, is his most radio friendly song on his album...and sappiest as well, other than "Women" maybe. However, the rest of the songs stem from somewhere else.
Johnson rides that coat tails of the Country Outlaws of years past, and even worse, the wave of Outlaw shtick that has been overplayed as of late by the likes of the faux rednecks, toughnecks and roughnecks in "country music" today. However, when hearing Johnson sing his tunes of the good times, the bad times, and even of the ones he can't remember, you can't help but actually believe him when he tells you about it. He sounds rough, he looks rough. He is rough. With songs like "High Cost of Living", "Angel" and "Mowin' Down the Roses", Johnson sings the truth, and you know it.
With his Possum attitude, his Cash-like sense of humor, and a sound like Waylon, Jamey Johnson reminds us all of what we truly miss in Nashville, and that we are being inundated by "pop music with a cowboy hat". Johnson yearns for the olden days, where country music was "three chords and the truth". A time when Nashville wasn't slick...and it certainly wasn't pretty...well, at least the guys weren't. They weren't good looking; they weren't groomed; they weren't sober; they weren't always nice. They were real. And kinda scary.
While Johnson's music, and appearance, may not make anyone turn and run, he does succeed in reminding the listener that country music can be fun and a little dangerous at the same time. But what Johnson is best at is reminding us of what we missed out on when our Daddy's were coming up in the '60s and '70s. That sound. That swagger. That bar fight. The Truth. Sadly, those times are gone. But at least we have Jamey Johnson doing his best to carry on the tradition of the true Outlaw sound...and it's still not slick or pretty. It's simply just the truth.