Thursday, September 04, 2008

Hey, sometimes the songwriters can sing, too!

Every now and then, you'll see songwriters who have their name on big hits from other artists give singing a shot and make their own record. Sometimes that doesn't work out so well, but other times the writer proves himself -- or herself, as the case may be -- to be a hell of a singer, too. From what I've heard of Alabama native Jamey Johnson, he definitely fits into the latter category. The first I ever heard of him was in 2006 when George Strait took "Give It Away," of which Johnson was a co-writer, to No. 1. (He was also a writer on "It Was Me," a cut from Strait's Troubadour cd.) About that same time, or it might even have been a little bit before "Give It Away" topped the charts, Johnson had a minor hit on the charts with a song called "The Dollar" — the title track of his debut album, which from what I gathered from that title track was straight-up traditional Haggard-Jones-Jackson-and-Strait country. I really liked that song but I never got around to buying the cd. Well. Mr. Johnson just released the follow-up to that debut, and I've heard snippets of its first single, "In Color," here and there. Saturday night when I was on the run through East Texas, I heard the song in its entirety. One word, friends. In-farking-credible. Both the song and the delivery of it. I can't explain exactly why, but I just got a huge lump in my throat when I finally heard the whole thing. If this song doesn't end up being a hit record, and if Jamey Johnson doesn't make it as a singer, well, the only thing I can say is that will say more about the state of current country music than Johnson's merit as an artist in his own right. Check it out.