Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Shouts Out Gethen Jenkins, Mickey Lamantia

Stories of celebrities name dropping cool independent country artists come up upon occasion, and they’re worth highlighting and celebrating since in certain cases they’ve lead to dramatic spikes of interest in artists. With the lack of support from the mainstream, the initial success of folks like Sturgill Simpson, Colter Wall, and Cody Jinks can be tied in part to big name drops by major influencers.

One man who’s been a name dropping machine over the last few years has been Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Sturgill Simpson, Cody Jinks, Tyler Childers, and others have received a boost from his social media posts, not to mention his support for folks like Jamey Johnson, Chris Stapleton, and many of the past legends of country music.

In a recent interview, The Rock went deep with his independent country music knowledge—deeper than ever before—name dropping two guys you might have heard about around here, but certainly not in the mainstream, while also hinting he might be getting into the country music game himself sooner or later.

Speaking to Billboard about a rap album he’s releasing, Dwayne Johnson said, “I love traditional and outlaw country music. I think there’s something down the road where I may collaborate with some artists in that genre as well. Some of those guys are my friends—like, for example, Jamey Johnson, Mickey Lamantia, Gethen Jenkins. There’s a real authenticity there, and, you know, maybe I could pick up my guitar.”

Whoa, there’s a lot to unpack there. So first off, he’s friends with Mickey Lamantia and Gethen Jenkins? You’re talking about two of the most hardcore and independent modern Outlaw country guys out there, right beside Whitey Morgan and Dallas Moore. Not only is it cool they’re getting a shout out by The Rock (and noticed he made sure to mention them as opposed to giving some generic answer), he might collaborate with them and Jamey Johnson in the future.

Now before you start rolling your eyes about how bad Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson might be at pickin’ and grinnin’, he was once cast to play Charley Pride in a biopic that ended up not getting made, and when he was 15, he lived in Nashville, and claims he spent some time singing on Lower Broadway. He might not knock our socks off, but The Rock has spoken on numerous occasions about how he always wanted to be a country star.

Still, it probably would be smart to keep your expectations low. But hey, if The Rock collaborated with guys like Mickey Lamantia and Gethen Jenkins, it could only mean more exposure for them, and folks like them. Think about a 12-track album where each song is a collaboration with some cool independent country artist? It could be huge. As we’ve seen over the years, as soon as the wide public is made aware of folks who play actual country music, that’s all it takes. They’ll ditch the Walker Hayes and Dan + Shay, and start making better music choices.

Gethen Jenkins is a retired US Marine who served eight years in Iraq, and committed while in the combat zone that when he arrived back stateside, he would pursue country music as a passion, and a profession. Originally from West Virginia and raised in Alaska, the thick accent is no put-on, and neither are his roots. He made Southern California his base of operations since returning from Iraq, creating a foothold and appetite in the region for a new generation of hard country fans and performers. You can read the 8.5 review of his debut album HERE.

Mickey Lamantia, who also goes by “ml750” for the drams contained in a fifth of alcohol, resides in a scene of new underground Outlaws in music operating outside of the industry on Music Row, steadfast in their independent streak, quick to speak the names of their heroes, and time their music to the slow plodding pentameter of a Waylon half time beat. Lamantia is super prolific, regularly making online performances even before COVID-19. In 2020 into 2021, he released a succession of four EP called Honky Tonk Confessions. You can read a review of his 2018 album Every Bad Habit HERE.

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