If you have been reading this blog, you know I am a big fan of Jamey Johnson. He is one the few country artists around today who is writing and making music that has a connection to the great country music of the past. With his music, Johnson has been quick to acknowledge the great artists that influenced him and with this album he recognizes one of the great songwriters of all time Hank Cochran.
In my post from Dec of 2008, I wrote: "Stop the presses. I have found the country album of the year. It is That Lonesome Song by Jamey Johnson. As much as I hate to admit that anything good could come out of Nashville, this album has and it is the real deal."
In March of 2009, I had a chance to see Jamey live and this is part of what I wrote at the time:
"In 1974, Jon Landau saw 25 year old Bruce Springsteen play at the Harvard Square Theatre. Afterward in an often quoted article in the Real Paper, he wrote: " I saw rock and roll's future and it's name is Bruce Springsteen." Well, tonight I saw the future of country music and his name is Jamey Johnson.
This past week, Jamey released his tribute to the great songwriter Hank Cochran called Living For a Song. On the record, Jamey duets with the likes of Alison Krauss, Merle Haggard, Ray Price, Elvis Costello, Leon Russell and Willie Nelson on 16 classic Cochran compositions. Every song on the record is stunning.
Cochran who died in 2010 at age 74 is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and is the author of many country classics. I Fall To Pieces, Make The World Go Away, The Chair, It Ain't Love (But It Ain't Bad) are among his 30 Top Ten hits. Along with Harlan Howard (his co-Author on I Fall To Pieces), Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson, Cochran set the standard for the modern country ballad. Cochran songs are concise, lyrical and often heart-wrenching. His ability to convey the subject with a minimum of words is the root of his genius. His influence is heard in almost every song Johnson has written.
Fans of traditional country music will love this album. If you are curious about this genre, there isn't a better place to start. Available on iTunes and from Amazon.