Jamey Johnson packs the Longhorn
the “big club” at the Texas Longhorn the first thing one may have noticed was
that the indoor bull riding arena was replaced by several hundred chairs. There
were no bulls and the cowboys were rigged out for dancing and not riding. The reason
for the changes was the first appearance at the Longhorn by Jamey Johnson.
very likely the hottest new star to hit the country music scene in a long time.
He has been around the Nashville scene for years as a songwriter and singer, but
has only recently begun to reach his potential.
college attendance at Jacksonville State University and eight years in the U.S.
Marines, the Enterprise, Alabama native decided to try to turn his hobby of
writing and singing songs into a career. One of his first gigs was opening for
David Allen Coe.
By 2000 he had moved to Nashville in pursuit of a career in
country music. Greg Perkins, a fiddle player who had played with Tayna Tucker
and other artists invited Johnson to sing as a duet partner on a demo tape. The
other half of the duet was Gretchen Wilson. Songs for which Johnson sang demo
included “Songs About Me” (cut by Trace Adkins) and “That’s How They Do It in
Dixie” (cut by Hank Williams, Jr. with Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson, and Van
By 2005, Johnson had released his first single under contract
with BNA Records. The song was “The Dollar”. The song peaked at #14 on the
Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.
In 2006 Johnson co-wrote with Bill Anderson and Buddy Cannon,
“Give It Away”, a song recorded by George Strait that went to #1 on the country
charts. “Give It Away was Strait’s 41st #1 hit on the Billboard country charts and
set a new record for the most #1’s on that chart. The songwriting trio won the
Academy of Country Music Best Song of the Year award for “Give It Away”.
IN 2009 Johnson was nominated for three Grammy Awards for
Best Country Album, Best Country Song and Best Male Country Vocal Performance.
That year he was also nominated by the Academy of Country Music for Song of the
Year for his song “In Color’, Top New Male Vocalist, and Top Album of the Year.
Johnson took home the award for Song of the Year. He was also nominated by the
Country Music Association for Single of the Year and Song of the Year for “In
Color”, New artist of the Year, and Album of the Year. Once again “In Color”
won for Song of the Year.
So far in 2010 he has been nominated for a Grammy for Best
Male Country Vocal performance for “High Cost of Living”. The Academy of
Country Music has nominated him for Top New Solo Vocalist.
Advance ticket sales were brisk and the demand was high for
tickets to the concert. The Horseman Store in Orange sold their allotment of
tickets two weeks before the show, with some driving from as far as Houston to
purchase the advance tickets.
The concert resulted in a near, if not full capacity crowd at
the Longhorn. It was clearly one of the largest attended concerts in the history
of the club.
Johnson more than lived up to his reputation as one of the
top entertainers in the country music industry. He entered the stage with
little fanfare and began to “pick and sing”. He began his show at 10:30 p.m.
and sang until nearly 1:30 a.m.
Johnson sings a song or two; steps back for a short sip of a
drink; and begins another song. If you want to hear a great singer, then
Johnson is your man. If you want to hear words, stay home. Johnson is a singer,
pure and simple. He sings a selection from his first songs ten years ago to the
songs of this year.
His song “In Color” is about a young man listening to his
grandpa telling stories from the old man’s past. The old man pauses and says, “you
should’ve seen it in color.” It is a great song that gives one pause to think
about their past and the “old men” in it.
As far as Johnson’s song that includes the phrase, “whiskey
eyes and ashtray breath”, draw your own conclusion. (She did love his
The packed house for the most part stayed to the end with
people cheering at every break between songs. The party atmosphere lasted until
the last note was sung and Johnson left the stage. No one had any reason to be
disappointed in the concert.
Johnson’s next appearance in the area is scheduled at the
Cajun Dome in Lafayette, La on April 10.
Next on the schedule at the Longhorn is indoor bull riding on
March 19, followed the next night, March 20, by a rodeo in the outdoor arena.