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.