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.

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