Jamey Johnson is a modern day poet. Jamey’s words can create a haunting melody, tugging nostalgically at your heart strings line by line. Widely acclaimed for his songwriting ability, Jamey is set to share the stage this summer with one of country music’s most legendary song writers, Willie Nelson. You can expect to hear a wide variety of musical influences when Jamey takes the stage. Jamey enjoys surprising the crowds with ZZ Top tunes, classics from Merle or Hank Sr. and some of the gospel tunes he recently produced for the Blind Boys of Alabama.
Jamey opened up to Country Music Pride about the upcoming tour and what it means to him to be a part of a tour that is giving back to his homestate of Alabama.
CMP: Tell us about the tour and why you wanted to take part this year.
JJ: When they brought up the idea this year about doing a Throwdown Tour with Willie, it was just common sense. We tried to do a tour with Willie a couple years ago for a couple of weeks and ended up canceling the second week of it… and I’ve been waiting on that second week ever since.
CMP: What can we expect this year on the Throwdown tour?
JJ: It could be something me and the band have been jamming. Might get something off the Blind Boys record. Maybe ZZ Top. I don’t know. We’re liable to break out with anything. Each tour is gonna develop its own tradition.
CMP: Is it nice to be on a tour that emphasizes the songwriting part of music?
JJ: (The) songwriter is the fundamental (part) of music. It’s not there unless somebody writes it or creates it. It is really neat but it is also important that we are on a tour that recognizes the significance of writing. I don’t think a Willie Nelson tour would be right without it.
CMP: How does it feel to be mentioned in the company of other acclaimed songwriters like Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Kris Kristofferson, and Willie Nelson?
JJ: It feels good. It feels like, hopefully, I learned something right.
Jamey Johnson grew up just outside of Montgomery, Al. On April 27, 2011, the lives of so many in his homestate were shattered by the devastating tornados that ripped through the southeast. Jamey and other artists on The Country Throwdown Tour were deeply saddened by the disaster and wanted to find a way to bring aid to Alabama. Willie proclaimed the tour would turn their June 5th stop in Orange Beach, Alabama into a charity show. Artists will donate their performance fees to organizations helping residents rebuild following April’s devastating storms
Jamey said “There are people trying to survive the best way that they can. The money that we are donating from the Throwdown Tour is gonna be looked after. It is gonna go to help as much as possible. That is important to me. Alabama is home to me. It’s a place that everybody else on this Throwdown Tour finds a special place in their hearts for too. And just in (the) past couple of days, seeing the news on Joplin Missouri…equally devastated. I don’t know what it’s gonna take, but I know we’re all gonna sit down and we are gonna try to find some solutions to help as many people as possible and to help them not just endure but help them recover.”
We wrapped up our discussion with talk about the “outlaw” tradition that is normally linked to Willie’s tours. Jamey has long been labeled a country music outlaw. Jamey is a throwback to traditional country in a time when the airwaves are dominated by country/pop crossover acts. Jamey laughs at the mention of being an outlaw. You can feel his sincerity when he chuckles and simply says, “It’s good to hang out with real people that enjoy good music. If that’s outlaw to you, then let’s all be outlaws.”
Catch Jamey and other musical outlaws this summer on the Country Throwdown Tour. For ticketing information, visit http://www.countrythrowdown.com/