Jamey Johnson released his first solo recording in about eight years. The country singer released a surprise rendition of “America The Beautiful” online on Oct. 16.
The song quietly dropped without much in the way of promotion. Katharine Lee Bates wrote the lyrics for the patriotic song as a poem in 1895. Samuel A. Ward composed the melody and music, originally for a different song in 1882. Several artists have covered the song over the years including Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. Ray Charles produced an iconic version in the 1970s, which is still popular today.
For his version, Johnson combines meditative guitar strokes with a soulful saxophone and flute. The song starts softly with Johnson on the guitar before the music swells into a full accompaniment.
The song comes at a decisive time in the country prior to the 2020 presidential election. In recent months, the country faced not only a global pandemic but also a wave of national protests over police violence and racism. The West Coast has experienced devastating fires while the South suffered a destructive hurricane season.
Jamey Johnson Released His First Solo in Eight Years
Johnson hasn’t released in solo recordings in nearly the past decade. In the 2000s, Johnson’s records went Platinum and Gold. He also won two CMA Awards for his work. But Johnson’s last length project was in 2012. His last original album The Guitar Song was in 2010.
Since then, Johnson’s creative output has been lacking. The singer blamed the lack of new music on a concussion that affected his songwriting abilities.
“I’m making progress on the creative parts of my brain. It’s been about 7 years ago, I got a concussion. I slipped on some ice coming out of the studio one night and I hit my head pretty hard,” he told KentuckyCountryMusic.com. “What I found out from a neuroscientist out in Scottsdale, Arizona, here recently is that ever since then, my brain has been locked in a hyper vigilant state, which it focuses on survival. Anything that isn’t directly relevant to survival, it just doesn’t focus on [at] all anymore.”
In 2015, Johnson started his own music label. He also released a couple of unreleased singles on iTunes including “Alabama Pines.” While he hasn’t released any solo music for a while, Johnson has collaborated with other musicians. For instance, he recently teamed with Nick Norman for “The Cock Crows.”
[H/T: Saving Country Music]