Jamey Johnson Remains a Prolific Collaborator

The lack of new, original music from Jamey Johnson is still a sore subject for many, including Jamey Johnson himself. Over the years there have been a host of excuses for why he hasn’t released an album of original music for going on 13 years now, and no album since Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran in 2012.

But that doesn’t mean Jamey Johnson fans don’t have ample opportunities to hear his voice in new recordings, or to hear songs he co-wrote with others. Those opportunities have actually come up quite often, and if anything, seem to be on the increase as fellow performers seek out his services, and do so from across the musical landscape.

Just over the last week, Jamey Johnson has been featured on not just one, or even two new tracks, but three from a wide array of the roots music world. It speaks to how even though Johnson may still not be interested in releasing any new music himself, he’s more than open to participating in music with others. And with the way his billowy voice imbued with an authentic Southern accent adds such a rich tone to any track, you can’t blame his collaborators for wanting to work with him.

Singer Melonie Cannon is releasing a Vern Gosdin tribute album on May 26th. Melonie isn’t just known as a solo artist and the daughter of famed country music producer Buddy Cannon, many also know her as Jamey Johnson’s harmony singer on stage. Johnson returns the favor in the second track released from the Vern Gosdin tribute, Melonie’s version of “Way Down Deep.” Doyle Lawson also appears on the song.

Flatpicking maestro Tommy Emmanuel has just released a new album called Accomplice Two. Along with featuring great collaborative tracks with some of today’s bluegrass stars like Billy Strings, Molly Tuttle, and Sierra Hull, when Tommy needed the right voice for “Daddy Frank (The Guitar Man),” Jamey Johnson fit the bill.

Written by Merle Haggard himself, Tommy Emmanuel’s version with Jamey Johnson singing lead also features Bill Payne and Jimmie Fadden. It’s definitely worth checking out.

“My accomplices on this album are all in a league of giants to me,” says Emmanuel. “They all inspire me to reach for the stars; to give my best while supporting them as they give their best. We all have a chemistry and electricity together when we play music. I wanted to capture this power in songs and performances that will stand the test of time.”

And though Jamey Johnson may not be the first person you think of when you consider covering The Grateful Dead, he’s exactly who saxophonist Dave McMurray though of when he wanted to put together his rendition of Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter’s “To Lay Me Down.” It may have a bit of a jazzy intro, but as the song progresses, Jamey Johnson reveals himself as the perfect fit for the song.

“I first met Jamey when we were on the same tour together”, says Dave McMurray. “I’d look forward each night to hear him do ‘In Color’ alone, with just his voice and guitar, and it was always amazing. So when it came to finding the perfect vocal for ‘To Lay Me Down,’ I thought of Jamey right away. What he did with the song is so raw and emotional and tells the story in a whole different way. He got way inside the lyric and it just felt like nothing I’d ever heard before.”

The song also features pedal steel guitarist Greg Leisz, guitarist Larry Campbell, and bassist Don Was. It comes from Dave McMurray’s album Grateful Dedication 2 out May 19th.

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