Jamey Johnson Throws Cold Water on New Album Talk
In February, Jamey Johnson’s long-time legendary steel guitar player “Cowboy” Eddie Long spoke with the Small Batch Network in an hour-long interview, and during the discussion, the topic of new music coming from Jamey Johnson came up. Since it was 2010’s The Guitar Song since we’ve had a new album of original material from the traditional country star, and 2012’s Hank Cochran tribute Living for a Song since we’ve had a Jamey Johnson album at all, the news was very well-received by country fans.
“We went up a level in music, it’s a little bit deeper, the songs are a little bit stronger. And of course we have some Jamey stuff on there too, the originals, but we did a tribute to Charlie Daniels even, a song called ‘Trudy.’ And you wait until you hear the horns on this. I think he may have outdone himself, we all did there. I think you’re really gonna like it,” Eddie Long said in part.
Well it turns out Eddie Long was speaking out of turn, and has since issued a mea culpa, while Jamey himself has also spoken on the issue. Long story short, there is no new album on the way, or at least that’s what Jamey Johnson wants the record to reflect.
After numerous outlets—including Saving Country Music—published quotes from the Small Batch Network interview earlier in May (which has since been pulled in full), Eddie Long said in a social media post:
“This is wrong. No new album yet. I’m so sorry for misleading everyone. We did do some more recording, which I too was excited about it being a new album, but I was wrong about the release, from the excitement and said this, unaware that this was going to go public. And It caused turmoil and confusion with our team. Please forgive me for misleading you. But no, not yet … when ?? I don’t know, but I will never talk about this again because the info I said is totally wrong . Jamey has a PR who promotes his career. I’m so sorry for misleading everyone … Beverly Keel, I am so sorry for the grief and turmoil my mouth has caused you.”
Beverly Keel is Jamey Johnson’s long-time publicist.
Then in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Jamey Johnson said, “My steel player, he did an interview recently and he told them all this wonderful stuff that we’d gone in and recorded. And they turned around and printed that there’s a new album, which is news to me.”
Johnson acknowledged that he’d been in the studio lately, including to record a version of “Trudy” by Charlie Daniels, and that the band had “nibbled around” with some other stuff. But Johnson categorically denies any new album is on the way.
“I don’t need to put out an album, and I know some people do put out albums every year,” Johnson continued. “But I only want to put out an album if it’s going to be good, if it’s going to be something that I want to go out and play every night. And if I’ve got those songs, then I have no reason not to put it out. But in the absence of that, I don’t see why I would. You know, I wouldn’t waste everybody’s time and attention to come hear the newest bucket of crap.”
It’s still a little difficult to square what Eddie Long said originally and Jamey Johnson’s explanation. Maybe initially the idea was to go into the studio and start the process of a new album, and Jamey Johnson was unimpressed with the results. Maybe the most important angle here is the PR one to not set expectations for a new album until it’s finished, while also wanting to keep enthusiasm high for if or when and new album is announced. But we have to take the two-time CMA-winning songwriter at his word that at the moment, we shouldn’t expect a new Jamey Johnson album whatsoever.
In 2014, Jamey Johnson said that being saddled with a bad publishing deal soured his passion for releasing new music. Then in 2017, he revealed that he’d suffered a concussion, and that had hindered his creative output. But he has co-written numerous songs recorded by others over the last few years, including the title track of the latest album from The Steel Woods, “All of Your Stones.”
So the waiting game for Jamey Johnson fans continues.
May 22, 2021 @ 8:52 am
So you’re telling me there’s a chance…
I was pretty disappointed when I read this, but it still seems like they’re making new material for some reason. Maybe we’ll at least get some new songs on streaming or something in the coming months.
May 22, 2021 @ 9:02 am
this cold shower surely bulldozed my tent.
May 22, 2021 @ 9:12 am
Eddie sounds like someone threatened to break his legs with his over the top 180. And if Jamey doesn’t have songs good enough for an album after ten damn years, well…
May 22, 2021 @ 9:27 am
I agree good grief. Maybe Jamie doesn’t want to go out every night until it’s perfect, but maybe the other people in his band do. Since it’s been a decade. Sheesh
May 23, 2021 @ 11:25 pm
His band is still being paid by him…..it’s his choice and his music…they definitely help bring the songs to life…but he’s the one in charge.. I understand…why would he want to release music he’s not happy with…thats totally contradictory to the person he is…songs are like your kids and releasing any that ain’t ready is like sending your kids outside without a coat in the winter 🤷🏻♂️
May 22, 2021 @ 8:32 pm
I don’t know. Like others I think this kind of comes down to laziness. I’m not a huge fan but I liked what I heard back in the day. If he writes a lot of stuff for others to sing, maybe he don’t need to make a new album, otherwise I kind of think he does.
May 22, 2021 @ 9:14 am
“But I only want to put out an album if it’s going to be good, if it’s going to be something that I want to go out and play every night.”
Jamey, there is a difference between good and impossible standards. He thinks like the post-wall 30+ year old who ignores pretty good options because that fairytale prince is just around the corner.
You are a talented songwriter. Record something already.
strait county 81
May 22, 2021 @ 9:29 am
It’s been 10yrs so regardless if every song happened to be a perfect one still is people that will say it wasn’t worth a ten year wait.
May 22, 2021 @ 9:30 am
As long as when I put down $20 to see him at my local Hard Rock he’s playing the majority of his songs, I’m cool.
May 22, 2021 @ 10:05 am
My new stuff is nothing like my old stuff was
And neither one is much when compared to the show
Which will not be as good as some other one you saw
So help me, I know, I know, I know
I am an old timer, old timer
It’s too late to die young now
Old timer, five-and-dimer
Tryin’ to find a way to age like wine somehow
May 22, 2021 @ 10:48 am
I wish him all the best though, I guess I’ll probably have to buy physical copies of his previous albums. Imagine a scenario where he announces he’s never recording another album
Bill from WI
May 22, 2021 @ 11:07 am
I don’t know, I guess that’s his right as an artist. But regardless of what he puts out eventually it’s the fans that decide what’s good and what’s not quite. Maybe just get plugging away and recording and let it sit awhile and put 10 or so together and take the chance and put it out there like everybody else. Hope he’s not saying those that are more prolific are putting out less than good music.
May 22, 2021 @ 2:16 pm
So many of his songs have co-writers, maybe he needs a break from the road and just sit in a room again with some of those guys…
May 22, 2021 @ 2:35 pm
Figures. Don’t know why I got my hopes up. Dillon Carmichael gave a decent substitute with his debut, but his last two EPs are garbage. What a disappointment.
May 22, 2021 @ 3:01 pm
Well, I guess the waiting will go on.
In the meantime, how about that album “Moral Dilemma” from Steve Hickman? I’d say the style is from the Jamey Johnson territory, and it’s pretty damn good.
May 22, 2021 @ 11:43 pm
Thanks for the recommendation. Wouldn’t say he is at Jamey’s level, but a pretty good album.
May 22, 2021 @ 5:14 pm
I was a huge Jamey Johnson fan for the few years after he released the Guitar Song. But, his I’m about done supporting him by going to any concerts or listening to his music on any of the streaming services. I would say that I wouldn’t buy an album, but that’s not an option. Jamey Johnson doesn’t deserve to make a rich man’s living off of one great album that was partly cover songs and one mediocre album before it. He needs to quit making excuses; first it’s a record label, then it’s a publishing deal (that he evidently agreed to), then it was a concussion. I’m starting to think he might just be either too damned lazy to write or record, or he’s just such an asshole that he can’t get along with anyone in the music business long enough to get an album out the door. You’d think since he has his own label, he could at least get along with himself long enough to release something.
May 22, 2021 @ 5:26 pm
I went to 3 of his concerts and bought 3 albums, but I’m done with him. He always has an excuse. Bad record label, concussion, or bad publishing deal that he evidently agreed to. I’m starting to think he’s just too damned lazy. Touring for 10 years, at his relatively young age, to keep cashing checks is kind of like living off welfare! Maybe he’s just afraid of failure, or maybe he’s only got 12 or 13 songs like Honky Tonk Badonkydonk or whatever it was called that he wrote for Trace Adkins. Those would ruin his tough dude, country music savior reputation. At one point I had sympathy for him not being invited to join the Opry, no more!
May 22, 2021 @ 5:28 pm
Sorry about two posts. I thought the moderator had cancelled me, so I tried to write a more tame post.
May 22, 2021 @ 8:03 pm
May 22, 2021 @ 8:21 pm
funny how there’s more discussion about this guy NOT releasing an album than there is about the Big Little Towns, the Luke Bryans, the Stan and Shays, etc. actually RELEASING albums . maybe JJ is onto something . maybe those other acts aren’t .
May 22, 2021 @ 8:47 pm
Not sure why people are calling Jamey lazy.
If he’s not feeling it, he’s not feeling it.
May 23, 2021 @ 12:39 pm
Good lord people! Demanding someone else do something to make you happy is so petulant- that’s THE why we have more laws than can be counted- they did “something”- SMH- the similarities are disgusting- here’s an idea- how about you whiner/demanders
“buy you a guitar, put it in tune and you’ll be rockin – n – rollin soon”-
make yourself happy (if that’s even possible)-
May 23, 2021 @ 10:01 pm
I know a lot of people loved his last album. I thought it was good, not great, and showed potential for the next album to be great. After 10 years, that window might be closed. He’s not even on my radar anymore. Unless he gets a write up in SCM about the latest excuse/reason for no new material, I completely forget he exists.
If he’s happy just touring on his old songs and covers and it feeds his family, fine. Mr. Johnson can can do whatever he wants. However, after all this time, I’m not sure I understand anyone getting excited about anything he does. Seems to me he doesn’t want the attention, or to record anything. Leave the man alone. That said, if I see him at my county fairground on a bill with Lonestar and Tracy Byrd, I might pop my head in, if it’s free.
May 24, 2021 @ 6:20 am
“I don’t need to put out an album” OK Jamie. I don’t need to buy tickets to your shows.
May 24, 2021 @ 6:30 am
I guess Jamey just feels like he’s said what he needed to say when it comes to his music. I don’t fault him for that. I’d like a new album from him, but damn some people in here are just straight up hateful about it. Like he owes them something.
May 24, 2021 @ 2:02 pm
He doesn’t owe anyone anything. My point was that he has a holier than thou attitude towards everything. He doesn’t like record labels, publishing deals, etc. My opinion came from an interview on Sirius Outlaw Radio. He just seemed like he thought he was better and smarter than anyone else, all at the same time trying to have a good old boy persona. He’s sure free to do whatever he wants, but I think most comments on here relate to him seeming to think he’s too smart and too good to participate in the industry. Record labels do suck, but he just seems to have developed an attitude that stinks, but everybody’s free to have an opinion. That’s what makes America great!
May 24, 2021 @ 8:40 pm
I too am disappointed to learn this but, Jamey Johnson doesn’t owe us anything and he’s given us a whole lot! In skimming the comments (note to self: just read the damn article and STOP! Learn your lesson!), while I didn’t catch anything I felt was an opinion someone isn’t entitled to hold, this is one of those moments I realize how different I am from even the average “real” country fan. It solidifies my decision to NOT release country music myself. Who needs this? If I write 40 great songs y’all like, you’re going to actively turn on me if I don’t continue to do so every couple years thereafter… forever!? It strikes me as a real shame to feel that way about one of the few guys that has written some incredible country songs and actually feels like he could’ve grown up down the road, ya know, in the country.
Jamey Johnson has written some of the most impressive lyrics of anyone still breathing imho. Many of his deep cuts surpass the writing of all but the top guys’ best stuff to this day. Granted, he’s got a couple that aren’t for me but, more importantly, he’s got a couple that literally give me chills if I haven’t heard them in a while. He’s been nothing but authentic, if not from the very start, from the moment he realized selling out sucked and wasn’t mandatory for him. I’ve never heard him preach or talk down to anyone. Put simply, his output just hasn’t been driven by economics in a very long time, if ever. Isn’t that what we support around here? Artists who don’t fall in line and put out that mindless “speakers go boom boom” crap I had to listen to at dinner tonight for the sake of output? Artists who make the music they believe in rather than music they think will sell? IF this new album ever comes, we can rest assured it WILL be good and, if it doesn’t, we already have a career’s worth of killer writing.
So, Tyler takes a year to lick his wounds and everyone is fine (as they should be) but, Jamey takes a handful and that justifies some actively turning their backs? Had Hank or Townes lived to lick their wounds, it may have taken 20-30 years should they be fortunate enough to ever scab. Good thing they died young and broken so we can continue to support them I guess? Seems twisted to me.
The way I see it, the article was perfectly balanced. Hopefully optimistic while not faulting a man who did nothing wrong, I often find myself perplexed by how things transpire below the article. I totally get that the explanation given by Jamey over the years isn’t entirely satisfying but, while I’ve been guilty of wanting people to accept a larger role than they want in the past, these artists sharing their inner thoughts isn’t their burden, it’s our gift, and gifts shouldn’t be expected on an annual basis. Just my 2 cents. (I’ve fallen in love with “all around you” since cutting grass so, I beg Sturgill’s pardon as well. Good writing is good writing and it comes when it comes.)
May 24, 2021 @ 10:06 pm
I think one of the reasons people feel so hurt by this news is the tone Jamey Johnson has taken. People were really excited when they got the news of new music from Cowboy Eddie, and it sure seems like it was more than just a quick session to record a cover, and ‘noodling around.” It sounds to me like a legitimate effort was made to at least start the recording of a new album. But Jamey Johnson comes across almost like he’s offended people want new music from him, as opposed to humbled people care enough about him and his music that they want more.
Travis Tritt took a long time before releasing a new record. And though some were bellyaching about the delay, it wasn’t some big drama like it’s been with Jamey Johnson.
If he’s not feeling up to writing, recording, and releasing new music, I agree we shouldn’t force him into it as selfish fans. But at the same time, he shouldn’t take offense that fans love his music so much, they’d love to her more of it.
May 26, 2021 @ 5:05 am
Travis Tritt has released more than a honey first album, great second album, double album, and a tribute album in his career. Jamey has not released enough of his own work to actually satisfy his fans. Not a good comparison
May 29, 2021 @ 1:53 pm
Sorry brother, been out of town. I can see that, I guess I just didn’t take it that way from reading the quotes (maybe I should look up the audio). I suppose every statement I’ve ever heard the man make has been so humble and down right inspiring to spite him not really wanting to play ball that, I was/am inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. We all know these guys are forging their own path to some degree and not just doing it the way its always been done. I took it more like, “I didn’t know I was making an album and my steel player said I did so, I’m a bit irritated I might now have an article on SCM going out to my core fans that says I have an album I don’t have.” I see your point though. I just didn’t quite feel the same animosity come through towards the fans in the article (admittedly didn’t hear his tone as he spoke) as I read from the fans in the comments. I’ll revisit the quotes in the article too though. To me, it was the comments that sorta felt like, “I know longer support Jamey Johnson because his steel player said something out of school that he didn’t even know about.” I do agree that the discrepancy between the two seems a bit wide for neither to be controlling the narrative though and one could take that a couple different ways. Still, I tend to think it aint an “album” until the gentleman whose name is on the cover says it’s coming out as an album. I’m not entirely sure faulting him for someone jumping the gun, no matter how important steel is, and it is very important, is the appropriate response. Point taken though, well said, and I digress.
May 24, 2021 @ 8:44 pm
As a recording artist, maybe other than a tribute album song here and there, he’s done after a decade of inactivity.. As a live entertainer, he can last as long as he shows up for a gig and someone’s willing to buy a ticket or Willie’s team has him open his shows. I don’t know how he makes much money after transporting and paying his 10 or 11 member band though.
May 24, 2021 @ 9:44 pm
Its OK Jamey, only the band wagon Perps like your music anyway. I will stick to Real Country music like Hank Williams Sr, Johnny Cash, George Jones and Ernest Tubb.
May 12, 2022 @ 12:16 pm
“Ed, what an ugly thing to say.”
May 26, 2021 @ 5:02 am
Jamey has reached the George Jones level of disappointing his fans. Just release something
May 28, 2021 @ 10:05 pm
He hasn’t put out enough material to be in the legacy tour mode, although he thinks he has. It’s up to us as consumers whether to support him or not. I will not be paying him to see the same setlist of his small catalog over and over.
And laziness? Yeah probably. A good song can’t be written in a week? You can’t come up with 12 songs in a year? I get writers block, lack of inspiration, label bullshit. But if you can’t write 12 songs a year, it’s time to outsource it.
May 29, 2021 @ 12:20 am
closest thing to new jamey johnson music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zuf1OFd4MxI
May 12, 2022 @ 12:13 pm
From long to limp in 5 seconds.