Jamey Johnson was born in some small town in Alabama that you’ve only heard of if you lived in or broke down there. He was born in 1975 and, by all accounts, he lived a musical life pretty similar to the rest of us who grew up in that time frame. Matter of fact, from what I’ve read about the dude, he’s pretty much lived a similar life to all the rest of us Southern mid-30-somethings.

That said, Jamey ain’t like the rest of us at all. See, Jamey committed a horrific crime. No, he didn’t rape a woman, kill someone or beat a kid. You can go to jail and pay your debt to society for crime like that, but you see Jamey wrote “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk”, and that is a seemingly unforgivable crime in the world of country music proper. Now, while I don’t typically get into my feelings on these types of things….I am now. Is “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” a bad song? Of course it is. Was “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” a ridiculous hit? Hell, it still is to this day, and that’s the reason the anti-Nashville community hates Jamey Johnson by default. Not ‘cause he wrote a shitty song (see 95% of David Allen Coe’s song folder), but because he wrote a crossover hit. While I can understand a strict militarism of my music (I grew up in the industrial music scene), but at 37 years of age I’ve started to bore of it. I no longer hate a certain brand of music, I only hate “bad” music, and the simple fact is that Jamey Johnson’s latest album, The Guitar Song, isn’t bad music. Had he used a stronger editing hand and cut it down to 1 cd instead of 2, it’d be fucking great music. So don’t get caught up in the anti-Nashville chatter and write this fella off. Fact is, the dude has put out a good double cd, that when I pared down to a single cd I am willing to label as Essential Listening.

I know this post is gonna draw ire from the anti-pop country community, but fortunately for me it’ll take ‘em a while to see this, since they’re currently trying to figure out if one of their own got called out in a Taylor Swift song. To them I offer a challenge; forget “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” and really listen to the album. Narrow it down to a single album’s worth of songs. Now, drop your guard and tell me if you like it. It’s okay if you don’t, but I think we’ll agree this album ain’t a warrior in the fight against country music proper, and something else tells me that, unlike Shooter Jennings, Jamey is sincere.

Jamey Johnson – Poor Man’s Blues
Jamey Johnson – Set ‘Em Up Joe
Jamey Johnson – Even The Skies Are Blues

Jamey Johnson’s Official Site, Stream the album (cd1) (cd2), Buy The Guitar Song


  1. I love the Jamey Johnson record… sorry I ain’t got anything more insightful than that lol, but I just checked out the link to Triggerman’s article on Saving Country Music and I don’t think I can read that blog anymore – that is the most pathetic piece of writing I’ve seen in awhile.

  2. Hell Bryan the town he was born in is where I go to work everyday..Tis the Aviation life! Nevertheless the album is really really a damn good record. Met Jamey a couple times down here at some small bars and he is actually a down to earth kind of guy, maybe even shyed out and quiet. Oh and I dont think those same people that talked all that shite about him would dare do it to the mans face..I dont think hed have any problem laying a dirty south ass whoopin on anyone..well that and the whole Ex-Marine thing haha. Cheers!

  3. I totally agree that this is a fantastic album, especially if would have been cut down to a single disc.

    I am a very anti-Nashville, but I am anti-Nashville in the sense of the industry and not the individuals that make up mainstream country. I believe there are some great musicians up in Nashville. For example, Miranda Lambert makes some damn good music as does Jamey Johnson. Jamey Johnson’s records sound nothing like 95 percent of the other garbage that is played on Clear Channel radio. He is doing things his own way, and with a lot of sincerity.

    I think many people who are anti-Nashville by default will rule out an artist because they perceive them to be part of the Machine that is mainstream country music. If we continue to do that we will miss out on great artists like Jamey Johnson, who is not only making great music, but making money at the same time.

    Now, if I had my choice to make good music and very little money OR make bad music and tons of dough (a la Jason Aldean), then of course I would choose the former. To make good music and at the same time make lots of money doing what I love to do would be the best of both worlds, and no sane individual would turn that down. I also think it proves that real country music could once again thrive, and Jamey Johnson, despite his horrific “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” song, could help carry the banner of real stone cold country to a broader audience.

    Check out Amazon.com and click on Jamey Johnson’s album. Scroll down, and see the albums that other people are buying. Drive-By Truckers, Marty Stuart, Ryan Bingham, and Justin Townes Earle are all in there. That will lead to others discovering these great talents, and will only help to grow the audience for the bands and acts that we love.

  4. Good call. This is my favorite album of the year, despite its bloat. I’m happy for Jamey that it recently went gold, because I doubt he’ll get much, if any, radio airplay out of The Guitar Song.

  5. OK, I’m game.

    First off, not sure if the “Badanka Donk” talk was aimed at me personally, or elements of my mindless frock, but back in June I said, “Yes, I know he wrote the “Bandonka Donk” song, but get over it, that argument is tired.”


    Then in September I said: “Listen, I know he wrote the song “Honky Tonk Badonka Donk.” We all had a fun time roasting him for it, and I was shouting him down as much as anybody. But that is in the past. 5 years in the past, and it is not relevant to his current music. It was a gimmick song that he wrote as a joke. It doesn’t make it right, but I can’t listen to his new album and say I hate all the songs and justify it by saying, “He wrote Bandonka Donk.””


    As for the album itself, I gave it a mixed to positive review. If I am some hardliner who will not give it any chance because it comes from Nashville, then why am I getting my balls rapped incessantly for not being a hardliner who won’t give it a chance because it comes from Nashville?

    I agree, this album is not given a fair shake by some hardliners, and I may be just as much to blame for that as anyone. But how I feel about it is on record, and I think a fair assessment, nearly parallel with yours.


    Just wanted to state my case, just in case there was any misunderstanding.

    And as for the Taylor stuff, we’ve moved on from wondering if she wrote a song about me, to dealing with the undeniable fact that JTE’s publicist is attempting to discredit me. Gotta love drama.

    Good review.

  6. As a DJ/air personality/stupid ass that won’t shut up on a small market radio station who plays Jamey Johnson, I know there is an audience for him. The problem is that audience is male dominated, and most mainstream country stations have a female tilt.

    I like to think of Jamey as a gateway drug, so to speak, into “underground country”. Kinda a doorway between the Nashville and anti-Nashville camps. When people tell me how much they like Jamey, I always try to suggest other artists, such as Whitey Morgan, American Graveyard, and such. Much like REM and U2 were a gateway between mainstream and alternative back in the day.

  7. I’m a fan of this album and I can forgive his former song writings. But I just heard today that he is opening for Kid Rock here in Atlanta…. I just don”t know about that.

  8. SCM: “First off, not sure if the “Badanka Donk” talk was aimed at me”

    not at you. At hardliners in general. Cause, as I’m sure you know, it inevitably gets brought up.

  9. I will give this site a try… I post on SCM as well, but sometimes find that some on there are so Anti-Nashville, they can’t see a REAL country artist right in front of them…i.e. Jamey Johnson.

    This album, along with That Lonesome Song, are two of the best to come out to “mainstream” in decades. Nobody is perfect so you can Knit-pick some things, but over all, they are great mainstream or underground.

    I love the “gateway drug” reference. I also think had Jamey not found success as a songwriter in Nashville(which isn’t what he was looking for) he may have been the undergrounds hero for making his music his way.

    I don’t know why so many are up in arms about him touring with Kid. I agree that Jamey playing big arenas is not a great fit, and some think Kid is a sellout (which is not the case), but perhaps they are touring because they will have a good time together and make good money. For as much as some dispise people making music solely for sales and money, and then two guys are joining together just to have a good time, and they get ripped for it.

  10. nice post. I bought That Lonesome Song on your rec. and like that one quite a bit. Guitar Song is definetely bloated, so I haven’t gotten into it as much. If you want to email me the track list of your ‘single disc’ version, that would be cool.


  11. @waylon4ever…. I do consider Kid Rock a sellout but maybe I’m wrong. Perhaps his music is real and from the heart but, whatever it is… it fucking sucks. Obviously your a fan of Waylon and Jamey please don’t tell me you picked up the new Kid Rock album as well.

  12. Ran into this one on shuffler and I absolutely love it. Greetings to jamey from the other side of the big puddle


    The Netherlands

  13. acedbt- no I didn’t pick up Kid’s new one. I really don’t like the sound he is rolling with. I do think he is making music he wants, but he seems to be trying a bit to hard. Can’t fault him though for his love of a America.

    Jamey was supposed to have played up here (Minneapolis) this friday but it was cancelled as he had bus trouble out of Milwaukee. I think the weather played a factor in the decision too. Jamey’s shows are awesome. Different than anything I have seen. People either love or hate them. He sings, and that is it. No “hi” no “bye”, just song after song after song, of anything he feels like playing.

  14. Triggerman,

    You seriously need to get over yourself and stop feeling so self-important. Nobody was referring to you in any such way about Jamey being dissed for “Honkytonk Badonkadonk”.

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