Country music’s resident outlaw Jamey Johnson is celebrating his 47th birthday on July 14. And that’s reason enough for Outsider to celebrate. In fact, Jamey’s birthday came two months early this year when he was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on May 14.
With a twangy baritone tailor-made to sing country music, Jamey Johnson has been an alt-favorite with fans since releasing his 2005 debut single, “The Dollar.” And, yeah, “The Dollar” became a Top 20 hit on country radio. But after Jamey’s follow-up single, “Rebelicious” failed to chart, he was dismissed as a flash in the pan. Wrong.
Of course, Jamey Johnson came storming back (he’s a former U.S. Marine). He established himself as a hit songwriter for artists like George Strait (“Give It Away”) and Trace Adkins (“Ladies Love Country Boys”). “The former earned Jamey Song of the Year honors at both the CMA Awards and ACM Awards in 2007. Next, he sang his way to solo stardom with the Top 10 hit, “In Color,” in 2008. Once again, Jamey took home both the ACM Award and CMA Award for Song of the Year in 2009.
And while Jamey hasn’t gotten over the Grammy hump yet (10 nominations), he has become one of the most acclaimed singer/songwriters over the last 15 years.
In honor of his 47th birthday today, let’s take a look at a handful of our favorite Jamey jams.
Jamey effectively launched his career in 2005 with his debut single, “The Dollar.” (He self-released his debut album, They Call Me Country, in 2002). “The Dollar,” which Jamey penned, served as the title track to his 2006 sophomore album. The single reached No. 14 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 2006. Jamey’s heartfelt mid-tempo serves as both the perfect Labor Day song and Father’s Day song. A hard-workin’ father needed a reminder from his son, who puts together a handful of coins to “buy” some time from his busy dad. Tugging on heartstrings from the start.
Yes, it’s Jamey’s most well-known tune. Yep, it’s his most successful single on country radio (No. 9). And yes, it’s a superbly penned song. Written by Jamey, Lee Thomas Miller, and James Otto, “In Color” served as the lead single to Jamey’s 2008 album, That Lonesome Sound. But “In Color” almost didn’t happen for Jamey. He recorded the song through the generosity of his buddy, Trace Adkins, who’d already cut it for his album. Trace had also recorded the Jamey-penned “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” in 2005. But after Jamey got a record deal with Mercury, Trace let Jamey have the song back.
‘Between Jennings and Jones’
Jamey’s appreciation of Waylon Jennings was immediately evident on his 2008 album, That Lonesome Song, which was produced by Dave Cobb. Jamey covered two songs from Waylon’s 1975 catalog: “Dreaming My Dreams With You” and “The Door Is Always Open.” In addition, Jamey name-dropped Waylon—and George Jones—on “Between Jennings and Jones,” which closed the album with an exclamation point.
‘High Cost of Living’
Man, That Lonesome Song was packed with an unbelievable track list, including “High Cost of Living.” The album was nominated for Best County Album at the 2008 Grammy Awards. However, George Strait’s Troubadour bested the album. In addition, “High Cost of Living,” which Jamey penned with James T. Slater, was nominated for Best Male Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song at the 2009 Grammy Awards. Of course, the tune features one helluva lyric: “The high cost of livin’ / Ain’t nothing like the cost of livin’ high.”