Justin Townes Earle’s Redemption in Austin, TX
When Jamey Johnson released his critically-acclaimed album The Guitar Song this year and the four star reviews began to roll in, I so much wanted it to be an excellent album that I could sing the praises of, and that we could finally have a mainstream country project that was true to the roots, and more importantly, just enjoyable to listen to, and that all the disparate elements of “country” could unify behind. A similar reason is why I named Justin Townes Earle’s 2009 Midnight at the Movies SCM’s 2009 Album of the Year. Declaring The Guitar Song a home run would have made my life so much easier. But the problem is that I cannot tell a lie, and from my perspective, the album was only average, and I could not offer my support.
Similarly, it would make life much easier for me if on Saturday night, Justin Townes Earle put on the performance of a lifetime. With all the negative publicity he has received here and other places, but especially here, it has characterized me as a madman on a mission to destroy him. From NPR stuff, to more NPR stuff, to breaking the story on his arrest, it has branded me a Justin Townes Earle adversary in a way that has adversely effected my standing with many people I respect. And maybe, just maybe, if I could say one thing positive about Justin, it could lend credence to my assertions that my Justin coverage has been a matter of the way the cards played out, as opposed to a vendetta.
But I cannot tell a lie. I’ve built this website on giving my honest opinions at all times, damn the popularity or political fallout. So how was the Justin Townes Earle performance?
It was fucking phenomenal. Absolutely unbelievable. It was the best live performance I have seen all year. Hell, it may be the best music performance I have seen, ever. It was genuine, it was pure, and outright magical. Justin Townes Earle is gifted beyond words, and it seems almost foolish to try and describe it. I’ve given careful, sober thoughts to my reactions to his performance Saturday night at The Parish in Austin, TX, and I can say with confidence that Justin Townes Earle is nothing less than a national treasure.
Really, I’m speechless. I could put together pretty sentences with big words trying to describe what he does live, but that seems so banal when still basking in the natural high his performance afforded. I will say that Justin has a magical way about him, where he is like a concentrated explosion. It is like all the energy of a punk rock show concentrated and honed in his long, awkward body, and then that energy is emitted only when it can come out with class and infinite taste.
Does that mean that I have changed my mixed feelings about Harlem River Blues? No, in fact it has strengthened them. And strengthened the feeling of horror I felt when I saw him try to perform wired at 2010’s South by Southwest in March, and the downward spiral in my JTE coverage began. JTE wrote, produced, and performed that album while under the influence, and though on the outside everything seemed to be in order, for those who have a sense for these things, they could see beyond the music to the neuroses running deep beneath it’s surface. Justin’s path will always be a shaky and dogged one, but he must stay on it. Drugs and drinking or not, for most of 2010, JTE was off his path, and it showed, just like it would show in the underbelly of this article if I did not give my honest opinion, or my best effort.
If there was a lull in the set, it was when Justin performed “One More Night in Brooklyn,” but as weaker as the Harlem songs may have been, overall their live versions were much better than the album takes. Josh Hedley did an excellent job on fiddle, and I was very pleased to see Bryn Davies back on bass. Bryn had gone AWOL at least for a little bit after the Indy embrolio, and somehow her presence there on Saturday validated the whole thing. If JTE needed a bass player, the line would form to the left, and same can be said for the talented Bryn Davis if she was looking for a new band. If she wanted out, she had plenty of excuses to exit amicably. But she believed in Justin, and where he is right now, and stayed.
The arrest and Justin’s checkered past did come up, numerous times, and in numerous ways. Justin broached the subject first (see second video below), and then during in-between song banter he would allude to it at times. At one point to be comical, someone yelled out “Freebird,” and Justin, just like he did in Indianapolis replied “Fuck You,” in a fairly playful manner. Another person yelled, “Take your shirt off.” You have to give the crowd credit for being educated on the situation. But overall the attendees were unbelievably respectful. They had no choice, they were spellbound. At times the place was as quiet as I’ve ever heard a concert venue. When Justin came out for an encore, he performed “Louisiana 1927” (see first video below), and the place was like church. The unbelievable silence became an element of the experience in its own right. When he took his solo set during the middle of the concert, the place was remarkably hush as well.
I also have to give kudos to The Parish in Austin for their smoke and light show. At first I though it was going to be annoying and overkill, but the visual element combined with Justin’s already engaging stage demeanor made for some cool visual moments beyond the music. Another cool moment was at the end of the set, when Justin invited opening act Caitlin Rose and her band onstage with Joe Pug for a performance of “Harlem River Blues” (see third video below).
I was planning on getting a few videos that night, but each song seemed so important to capture, so I captured what I could, and still missed JTE performing Tom Waits’ “Union Square” and a high energy blues song (got the tail end). I am still uploading video, but as they come online, I will added them to the collection of photos and such from the night to This Message Board Thread. You can also read a review of opener Caitlin Rose.
A lot of people criticize that I spend too much time dwelling on the negative, that I spend too much time fighting, and not enough time supporting. I fight because I believe in things. I don’t fight Nashville or country music because I hate them. I fight for them because they are worth fighting for, and I love them. Many things are NOT worth fighting for. It’s trivial if they spiral into obscurity or self-destruction. But Justin Townes Earle is not one of them. He’s worth fighting for, and I’m glad I have. I’m not running a popularity contest. Some will not understand. But that is irrelevant to me. I must do and say what I think is right in my heart, and let history judge it. And in my heart, I know that Justin Townes Earle is gold.
ninebullets.net » TAMPA/ST. PETE TO DO/TICKET GIVE AWAY: JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE – THURSDAY NIGHT @ CROWBAR
December 6, 2010 @ 1:14 pm
[…] For Justin is seems rehab has done him some good. I’ll quote one of his more fair critics who caught his show the other night: So how was the Justin Townes Earle performance? It was fucking phenomenal. Absolutely […]
December 6, 2010 @ 1:32 pm
Great review !
I have some folk in Houston and they say very much the same thing after seeing him last week. From all accounts he has hit this tour running strong, playing great and talking as openly as legally possible about the recent past. Seems like he is dealing with it his way, which is the only way for these type of things.
I am going to see him in Philly in a couple weeks time and really hoping he plays that Waits cover (minor correction, the song is Union Square not Down Down Down).
December 6, 2010 @ 1:44 pm
Man, I know my Waits really well and I coulda swore it was a slowed down version of “Down, Down, Down,” but I think you’re right.
I need to slow down.
December 6, 2010 @ 2:03 pm
He looks physically better. It’s noticeable.
December 6, 2010 @ 2:07 pm
YAY! That is all.
December 6, 2010 @ 7:05 pm
I’m surprised you’ve fallen out of graces with the JTE camp. You posted some bad news about him, but YOU weren’t harsh. Speaking as someone who has not been won over to JTE, and I’ve tried, I think you’re a big advocate. Even though I’m not a fan, I’m glad he seems to be getting it together, and it sounds like a killer show!
December 6, 2010 @ 7:05 pm
Hell, I never even would have HEARD of Justin Townes Earle if it weren’t for this site. That’s the only reason I looked him up at all.
December 6, 2010 @ 7:20 pm
Glad to hear it, Triggerman.
December 6, 2010 @ 7:58 pm
Sorry, I only come here to insult you on Taylor Swift posts. Who is this guy?
December 7, 2010 @ 5:55 am
I have warmed up to Harlem River Blues more since it came it out. I don’t love it, and it’s the last album I’d recommend to somebody getting into JTE, but I’ve found myself being able to enjoy it more.
December 7, 2010 @ 5:57 am
I’ll be honest.. I enjoy the album quite a bit..
December 7, 2010 @ 8:09 am
I still don’t like it. I never hated it to be fair though. What seeing him live does is give me hope for his future albums. One of my criticisms of it was that it had no meat. He’d taken the devil out of his music. Seeing him live, without question the devil is back, and stronger than ever. I can’t tell you how much different seeing him at SXSW and seeing him Saturday night was. Night and day. Really looking forward to what the future of JTE holds.
December 7, 2010 @ 8:47 am
I can’t argue with that. That’s what set his other albums apart. He sang in spite of the song it felt like on the first three releases. I’m not sure if that makes sense, but that is the thought comes to mind.
December 7, 2010 @ 7:33 am
A couple things.. Very cool you were able to attend this show.. Those moments of crowd silence are unforgettable and gives me the chills. I have been able to enjoy those moments twice this year. Both of which were at the same venue which was The Magic Stick in Detroit and the shows were JTE and William Elliott Whitmore. Both are truly shows Ill never forget
Also Joe Pug is a great songwriter and is excellent live IMO
It is also great to see Bryn and Josh back.
Lastly it is great to see JTE doing well and looking healthy.. I hope he stays on the right track for himself..
December 7, 2010 @ 8:11 am
Joe Pug is great. I saw him perform the day after SXSW in March to a crowd of maybe 20 people, and he was amazing. Was going to write a review, but at that point I had so many others to write, he got squeezed out. Luckily he’s now living in Austin, as Justin announced from the stage, so hopefully I can see him again soon.
December 7, 2010 @ 8:46 am
Something else I forgot to put up top. I was amazed that no pictures or video emerged from the night JTE got arrested in Indianapolis, though you can find many videos of him at Radio Radio on previous occasions, and without question, you compare them to the videos I shot, and the crowd is much louder.
December 7, 2010 @ 9:21 am
You Can See He’s doing better just by looking at his face glad now he’s back and leaving nothing but a string of good reviews behind him for awhile he looked badly put together and sick but he does’nt look that way anymore and I hope he keeps going strong for a long time.
December 7, 2010 @ 9:39 am
Man I forgot how badass of a guitar player justin is goddamn He’s good
December 7, 2010 @ 2:41 pm
hes sort of talented, but yall just have favorites on this site… and most of it isnt based on “country” music. Seems to me this site is in favor of folksy, metal, gothic type music. Hank III has good stuff as does Justin Townes Earle and Lucky Tubb, but the majority of their material is just mediocre and thats why they will never “save country music”. Hank III goes into punk ass jack music, as does the other musicians this site represents. Undoubtedly I agree this music is 100 times better and more country than the pop country mainstream bull shit coming out of Nashville. But lets face it guys, as hard as it is to say, real country music will never be the same. Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb, Lefty Frizzel, George Jones, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings they were truly one of a kind… The man that carry’s on their tradition more than anyone, Jamey Johnson, this site trys to bash him and then claim they support him. It makes no since to me…
December 7, 2010 @ 3:28 pm
I play favorites with Justin Townes? Ha! I’m a gnat’s eyelash away from a defamation of character suit from him. Click some links above and discover for yourself.
“The man that carry”™s on their tradition more than anyone, Jamey Johnson, this site trys to bash him and then claim they support him.”
Where have I “bashed” Jamey Johnson? And where did I “claim” to support him. In fact in this very article I said, “I could not offer my support,” but that is far from bashing. You want to see bashing, go check out my reviews of Sugarland or Josh Thompson.
And I don’t know why you’re bringing Hank III up. I don’t think I’ve written an article about him in a month. I’ve probably written more about Jamey Johnson in the last year than Hank III, which I get shit for as well.
I understand what you’re saying about the name of the site, but you seem to criticize me for being too narrow in my focus and then say that focus is folksy metal gothic. That’s a pretty varied set of parameters. I’m proud of the diversity represented here. Jamey Johnson ain’t gonna be made or busted on the back of my opinions, don’t worry, he has plenty of people carrying his banner. I’d rather focus on the folks nobody else will give a fair shake.
December 7, 2010 @ 3:56 pm
I think thats fair to focus on the ones that don’t get a fair shake…but how can anyone possibly want to “save country music” and then say they don’t support Jamey Johnson? I’m sorry but he is more country than the artists this site supports, and thats not to bash any of the artists on here as I do enjoy some of their music as well…. However Triggerman, your focus on Jamey may not come out and bash him, but you do it in a round about way without even noticing it… hence your comment “Even then, this year I wrote album reviews for Jamey Johnson and Taylor Swift, and I have more mainstream reviews coming, when I have time” To put him in the same sentence as Taylor and then call him mainstream is a slap in the face and nothing but a lie. He sticks to true country roots and influences more than the people you praise… and he does it without yellings and screaming about drugs and cussing in every song.
December 7, 2010 @ 4:18 pm
I have recently began to enjoy Jamey Johnson, and while I don’t think “he is more country than the artists this site supports”, I won’t be putting him down. I never would have heard of JJ if not for THIS site, just like Justin Townes Earl, Lucky Tubb, Whitey Morgan, or many other amazing artists. You, friend, are suffering from what I call “Hank III syndrome”. Which is named in honor of the folks who think Hank III is the end-all-be-all in underground country. Only your syndrome is focused on Jamey Johnson. If you like JJ, you should check out Whitey Morgan, or Hellbound Glory. Or actually listen to some Lucky Tubb. I’m not saying they’re better, I’m just trying to spread good music to like-minded folks. Which is what the Triggerman does. If you can’t get over his lack of support for JJ, which is NOT the same as bashing, perhaps you should read other blogs?
December 7, 2010 @ 6:05 pm
I agree completely with what your saying…I actually just bought hellbound glory’s album on itunes and really enjoy it….. I totally agree with the concept of spreading good music and I absolutely hate the music coming out of nashville. This blog has opened my views up to underground bands I like that I never would have heard of, just sometimes I feel that it looks down upon Jamey because he did make it big… I mean I see Jameys flaws as well, I dont like badonkadonk, I dont like Kid Rock and dont like that he is touring with him this coming year,,, but I do like that he writes and sings real country music and respects the legends more than anyone in the business.
December 7, 2010 @ 4:30 pm
The fact that this website is called Saving Country Music and I talk what I talk about has come up a lot lately, and I do think it is a valid concern. I’m not sure exactly what I can do about it, but one thing I’m not going to do is to pretend I like artists that I don’t, or cover more mainstream artists just to appease naysayers.
Just to clarify, I did not mention Jamey and Taylor in the same sentence to in any way link them together more than to say I have written reviews for their albums, and they both ARE mainstream. I wouldn’t take “mainstream” as an insult in the same way “pop country” could be used. That was simply a coincidence their names were in the same sentence. If I had written reviews any other mainstream albums reviews, I may have included them. I don’t see where I told a lie.
I like some of Jamey Johnson’s music. Go back and read my review. And I want to think of Jamey as the savior of country music, just like I alluded to above. I would LOVE if he could be more outspoken, or his music more accessible, so that I could say that, but I can’t man, and believe me, it pisses me off that I can’t.
And I am going to try to focus more on other artists this upcoming year, including more mainstream acts. I have albums from Marty Stuart and Zac Brown Band sitting right here waiting to be reviewed. But I always want my focus to be the little guy.
I understand you’re a Jamey Johnson fan and you don’t think you’re getting a fair shake around here. There are just as many people who think that I am too nice to him, and think he’s a complete fraud and are pissed off at me for not roasting him. It’s not easy being the Triggerman, I just try to tell the truth as best I can about how I feel.
December 7, 2010 @ 4:38 pm
Here’s my review of The Guitar Song, and quotes:
there are some great songs here, and overall the album has its moments. Standout tracks for me were “Can”™t Cash My Checks,” “California Riots,” and “Macon.” For a Nashville-based album put out in 2010, the songs and arrangements are surprisingly tasteful and true to the roots of country, with heavy pedal-steel from “cowboy” Eddie Long, and even the appearance of upright bass and some B3.
Where this album finally drew me in was the last few songs, which accomplished a pretty good ramping up of mood to the finale of “My Way To You,” which might be the best song on the album, and I fear destined to be overlooked.
And check out the first comment from that review:
Fuck this fuckin guy, and fuck Justin Townes Fuckin Earle too, for that matter. I hope we”™re done with this bullshit and we can get back to Hellboung Glory and Scott H. Biram,.357 etc.
December 7, 2010 @ 6:19 pm
Hangin’ with the two-bit ladies
Soakin’ up the Florida sun
Ridin’ in a new Mercedes
Wondering if i ever did anything to have this much fun
I hope I’m sane by the time i’m done.
Now that’s country.. 😉
In all seriousness I respect Coldhard’s opinions and see some of his points I am not totally convinced that JJ is Country’s savior. JJ is decent I will admit that but for me the jury is still out on him and has been for quite some time. Im just not sold yet. That being said how has JJ paid his dues and please dont get in to how he is a recovering addict. I mean pay his dues musically and why isn’t he more vocal about his feelings of mainstream country?
December 7, 2010 @ 6:31 pm
@Misfit, you picked lyrics from one song that you didnt feel were country. Go find the worst song from your favorite artists and I guarantee youll find some non-country lyrics. Shit George Jones is the best ever, and I’ve had the privilege of meeting the man and talking with him a while and even he had some songs that didnt contain country lyrics, and hes as country as country gets. period.
“Well some record executives found me one night, I was singing half lit they said it sounded just right. They put my name on an album, but they shelved all my songs, they said I’s somewhere between Jennings and Jones.”-Jamey Johnson
Now if that ain’t country i’ll kiss everyone on this sites ass.
Well he went to Nashville on his own without any money, worked in construction for years and was actually fairly successful at it. He got married, picked up by his record label. Basically hit the road promoting his album and got to partying too much, record label dropped him, wife left him. He went into a depression wrote “give it away” for George Strait, got some money and wrote and produced That Lonesome Song. And the rest is history…
December 7, 2010 @ 7:09 pm
I didnt pick through his songs. I picked the one I knew which I heard on Pandora a few times. Put the lyrics aside and I think the tune has a good sound. . Im not knocking the dude man.. Just having some fun when I posted those lyrics. I was genuinely looking for more info on the dude..
Its weird.. Im guessing if a country band I knew personally made it big like JJ did. Id be willing to bet there would be people questioning their integrity on here or other sites simply because they made it big, all while I would know the truth about them that they were legit. What Im saying is that is is tough to not question their integrity when they go big because at that moment they are up there with all the artists most if us do not care for. Does that make any sense?
December 10, 2010 @ 1:41 pm
ha…that was me who said that, a full patch Hank III hardline motherfucker til i die.
December 10, 2010 @ 4:18 pm
haha. “…full patch…”
Somebody been watching SOA lately? HankIII isn’t a MC buddy.
December 11, 2010 @ 10:18 pm
dont worry fella, i know the score, was referring to the hank iii patch i wear on my vest and i’m damn sure i aint your buddy. i stand by what i said.
December 7, 2010 @ 6:23 pm
I really respect your opinion Triggerman and genuinely believe you call it how you see it, and as a fan of good music, particularly country music I appreciate that. I just think some members of this website, hence the ones saying “fuck this guy, lets get back to hellbound glory, scott h.biram, 357”. Those members are far less concerned with the state of country music, because most of the bands aren’t really country (not that their music cant be appreciated). I just know this much about Jamey Johnson (others can disagree), but the man writes his own music, its country, he has respect for my favorite artists of all time (Jones, Vern, Waylon, Whitley), he does things his own way not the nashville way, he initially wrote and produced That Lonesome Song without a record label, and if you see one of his live shows and the covers he plays of the legends you know your witnessing something rare and something great.
December 7, 2010 @ 6:56 pm
I guess that’s the point I was trying to make above. I don’t believe the Triggerman would dismiss an artist just because they’re successful, but there are certainly people who post on here who would. I recently got “The Lonesome Song”, and I like it. I like it enough to check out the “Guitar Song”. Speaking for myself though, I would still rather listen to Whitey Morgan & the 78s, but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna hate on JJ.
December 7, 2010 @ 7:06 pm
Hey man, if you like Jamey Johnson, that is all that matters. You shouldn’t let me or anybody elses opinions sway you. Finding music that speaks to you is hard these days. I offer my opinions as that, opinions.
I remember the first article I ever wrote about Jamey Johnson, I made those points. I do think he is the real deal and not a fake Outlaw. I do think he calls his own shots. And I do think he can put together a good song every now and then. I’m also glad that he has found some success and radio play. It gives me hope for the future of country music.
Jamey Johnson is very similar to Hank III in the respect that he is a very polarizing figure. Every time his name comes up, it draws a crowd and we have to engage in the same tired discussions. Usually I’m a pretty hardline guy, but with Jamey, I can see it both ways. I just wish everyone else could understand his polarizing nature, take a deep breath, and respect each other’s opinions a little bit.
Who knows Jamey may still save country music, but The Guitar Song was not the album to do it. Unfortunately.
December 8, 2010 @ 8:34 am
And to draw the point out even farther, here is a comment I just got on my last article that had NOTHING to do with Hank III.
P. fuckin S.! Not to change the subject”¦BUT didn”™t “SAVING COUNTRY MUSIC” stem from “FREE HANK THREE” ? maybe my memory serves me wrong, again”¦BUT I THINK IT BROUGHT ME HERE!!! KEEP UP THE GREAT POSTS TRIGGERMAN, I JUST GET CORNFUSED WITH THE “DISSING” OF SHELTONS WORK”¦occasionaly?
December 8, 2010 @ 9:46 am
I am sure some are wondering where I am with the Jamey talk going on. I think everyone knows I am a fan of JJ, and we have had some good back and forth about him on here. Again we find ourselves talking about Jamey in a non-Jamey blog. ha.
I agree with much of what Coldhard says, but I also realize this is Triggers site and he has introduced me to great acts through this site.
You can’t take the site name to literal, since country music is and always will be changing through different eras.
Are we trying to save Jimmy Rodgers country music? Or Hank Sr.’s? Or Cash’s? Or Waylon’s? Or Hank III’s? They are all “real country”. Jamey is too. If it is all an act, well than you got me hook line and sinker and I will just go to the next Sugarland concert.
I get upset when folks on here jump an artist like Jamey and they don’t know a thing about him. What I mean by that is any artist that makes a splash in Nashville and comes through Nashville. (Trigger I know your stance on this, so that comment isn’t directed at you)
They know he wrote Badonkdonk, but they don’t want to hear he wrote it as a complete joke in a bar one night cause it rhymed with honkytonk.
They rip him for coming back on the scene with a beard and long hair after his first album fell apart with a clean cut look, but they don’t want to know what happened to him between albums, and maybe the long hair/beard Jamey is the REAL Jamey.
They pick out one song (example above- “Place out on the Ocean”) but don’t bother to take a moment and listen to “That Lonesome Song” and know the reason the album was made before asking if those sound like real country lyrics.
Trigger doesn’t bash him, nor fully support Jamey, but I don’t think he really knew much about Jamey and still may not. That isn’t totally on Trigger, Jamey isn’t exactly an open book, however there are interviews out there. Has SCM reached out to Jamey for an interview? Let the man tell us what he is all about. Of course you can read some damn good interviews with Jamey and learn that already.
Finally, is Jamey the savior of country music? Again, what are we hoping he saves?
He won’t ever sound like Hank III, but he knows as much about Hank Sr. and pays just as much respect to Sr.
He won’t break ground like Waylon did, but he sure carries on Waylon’s influence and doesn’t just say his name in a song.
He might rub shoulders with mainstream pop acts, but what makes Jamey mainstream? Ever been to a Jamey show? Not one where he is a 35min. opener for someone, but just Jamey at a bar or small fair. The show isn’t a damn thing like anything I have seen considered “mainstream” and a hell of a lot better than some jackass telling us how tough he is in every song…see> Bob Wayne.
Fact is, he is nominated and/or wins some mainstream awards. But he isn’t mainstream. He is just to good for mainstream to ignore.
I like many other artists that this site supports, but if you get to know Jamey’s back story, and listen to his music, and go to a show…he is where he is for a reason. And that is far past where any artist underground or pop-country hope to be. He makes music his way and that is simply all he cares about…except his daughter too.
December 8, 2010 @ 11:03 am
I would love to interview Jamey, or even see him live. But he never comes to Texas, or at least he hasn’t in a long time, and I’ve been waiting and watching his tour schedule. And I like to do my interviews in person. First chance I’ll get, I’ll jump on it.
December 8, 2010 @ 11:12 am
Just to make it this clear.. I named that song (Place out on the ocean) in fun (Hence the smiley) and because it was really the only tune I know of his because I have heard it a number of times on Pandora.. For some reason none of his other tunes are played on my Pandora channel I listen to.
December 8, 2010 @ 11:29 am
Yeah, but you forgot to factor in that Jamey Johnson (along with Hank III) are the most polarizing people in country music, that the mere mention of his name means you’re going to get your balls racked by one side or the other, or both, for any slight perceived transgression by raging hardliners.
Can’t we all just get along?
🙂 🙂 🙂
December 8, 2010 @ 12:07 pm
I know you were joking, but pick up That Lonesome Song and tell me it isn’t country?
December 8, 2010 @ 10:08 am
one more thing…
I think JTE is kind of a geek, but I do think the clips above show a very good performance, however…
The thing I realized in watching those clips and since seeing Jamey in concert (being Jamey was the last show I saw recently), is how impressive it is when an artist doesn’t explain what a song is about or why they wrote it during the performance, and yet the whole crowd knows what the song means and connects with it.
JTE explained his songs above (not saying he did with every song, as only 3 are represented above), and nearly every artist does. That is just interaction w/ a crowd, but Jamey doesn’t say a damn thing at his shows. Just sings song after song after song. He might say “don’t take any flash photos”, but if you get even that, you got more than I have heard him say in 3 shows.
Not everyone can pull it off, but somehow he does. People might come to see Jamey cause they heard “In Color” on the radio, but they soon learn this isn’t pop country and this isn’t some rehearsed show.
JTE didn’t need to explain his recent troubles and what the song “Slipin and Slidin” is about. It makes it look like your trying to hard….might as well say “hey did you hear I was a troublmaker, remember, I am an outlaw making outlaw music.”
You are who you are, and if your song is real, people will feel it and get it with out your narration.
December 8, 2010 @ 11:08 am
I really don’t think Justin is in any way trying to convince people he is an Outlaw, whatsoever. Or even a tough guy. I would say that most of the crowd that night fit in the political elitist/NPR crowd, with quite a few hipsters, and a few rednecks mixed in for good taste. I’d say he wasn’t trying to justify anything with his banter between songs, which was not above average in length whatsoever. The one video I included in the three specifically because of what he said. If I had a complaint about his banter, it was that it was too forthcoming, and even then, one can find this endearing. He does say “fuck” a lot on stage, and generally doesn’t seem to care if this offends people, who judging by the crowd that did have quite a few older people in it, is not out of the question.
December 8, 2010 @ 12:06 pm
I agree, JTE isn’t claiming to be an outlaw. Of course neither are many that we want to call “outlaws”.
But my point was that JTE explains the song as if someone would forget it is about him and his troubles. He now has a rep of being a troublemaker. He created that rep from his deamons, but reminding people about the deamons is trying to hard.
Don’t confuse “not caring” with “trying to hard”. When someone says “I don’t give a shit” yea, you do, cause your reminding us you don’t.
Another thing… Jamey and HankIII are polarizing, but I think your giving a bit to much credit to HankIII as a polarzing figure. If he wasn’t a Williams legacy, but just some regular ole’ Joe, he wouldn’t be so ploarizing. I like III, but he can’t get out of his own way. How long have we been hearing “just wait until he really breaks loose from curb.” Newsflash… Assjack is how he is. Singing about heroin and meth is who he is. Mixing it with a slow traditional country sound doesn’t make it country, and doesn’t make it polarizing. While he has been with Curb, he has put out the best country he will ever put out.
Jamey is pretty much self made, no legacy to fall back on. Yea, I know many can say they don’t have a name to fall back on, but not many rattle cages both mainstream and underground as Jamey has. Not many since guys named DAC, Waylon, Willie, Paycheck, etc..
December 8, 2010 @ 4:32 pm
Yeah I’ve seen Jamey live and it was boring but JTE talking about his problems if you forget them you repeat them but everybody has been asking him if he does’nt say anything it looks like he’s got something to hide but it’s called banter and some people like it not just i’m gonna stand here and sing you some songs like i’m above you.
December 9, 2010 @ 9:26 am
to Roscoe- “…stand and sing here like I’m above you”
hmm? I know that Jamey shows are either love it or didn’t love it. There isn’t much in between.
Personally, I found his show so different and strictly about the music I loved it. I didn’t get the feeling Jamey thinks he is above anyone, I think he is a relatively shy, laid back person, and it is not his style to chit chat about why he does what he does or to explain why he wrote a song. You kind of have to dig a bit to learn and know how Jamey works. But it appears that some of the underground proud want everything easy access, spoon fed to them like…hmmm, a mainstream act.
If you forget your problems you repeat them is a truthful statement, but if you write a song about your troubles, you shouldn’t have to explain the song is about that. The song itself is the vehicle for that. Not many can do it.
December 8, 2010 @ 5:10 pm
I can’t say I don’t question the wisdom about being so forthcoming, on stage and in interviews. But it is him. I don’t feel an act. In fact his stage banter doesn’t fit his music at all. His music has little to no cussing or drug references, but he talks all about it on stage to a demographic that is more likely to listen to NPR than read Saving Country Music.
December 9, 2010 @ 6:22 pm
To waylon4ever I love Jamey’s music I just kind of found the show a little boring and when you don’t talk to your crowd it seem like you think your to good for them some people like insite in to the song it’s not like JTE told a 20 minute story he just told a little story to go with the song it’s called showmanship JTE is a good at it Jamey is not I just wanted a little more from Jamey because I’m from the town he was born in and that’s where I saw him play maybe it’s good to be back in my birth place or something.
December 8, 2010 @ 11:12 am
Here are a couple more videos for those interested, neither which have pre-song banter. I have more vids, but have been having trouble getting them uploaded. I’ll keep trying.
December 9, 2010 @ 1:37 am
GREAT SAVE! personaly…I think I would have reversed the order of the video posts though. You started off with the :”highlite” and progressed backwords. It wasn’t until I played the videos- 3, 2, 1 That I caught the impact of YOUR moment. GREAT POST! It would have been a helluva a show to witness! I knew he had it in him, but I still would have never have known his music with out those (original) posts of him that you made last year?…or maybe the year before that. Thanks!
December 9, 2010 @ 6:21 pm
More videos from the night:
December 9, 2010 @ 6:30 pm
The name of the blues song is my starter won’t start made famous by Sam Lightnin Hopkins.
December 9, 2010 @ 7:11 pm
Thanks Roscoe, details changed.
December 9, 2010 @ 6:57 pm
My new theme song, and more importantly, a genius of a song. Slippin and sliddin’ is enough said.
December 10, 2010 @ 6:42 pm
I have heard 5 Jamey Johnson songs. One of them I thought was alright, “High Cost of Livin'” I believe.? The other four I thought were Whorrible.
December 11, 2010 @ 8:16 am
You know I’ve long been a fan of JTE, however it’s been based on his albums. Without getting into “sob story” details, I’ve faced a lot of similar demons. I can relate to a lot of his stuff.
I’ve never had the privilege to see him perform live. However after seeing these videos, and looking at some more online, it would see to me that he is one of the rare types in today’s day and and age where the live performance clearly blows away anything he does on album. I can pretty much tell that his talent is not able to be captured by tape (or I guess hard-drive today).
As far as him not being “country” according to the above poster, I would love to know what your idea of country is?
Is it an accent? Seriously, I would love to know what makes someone like Jamey Johnson more “country” than JTE. Based on instruments used, song structure, JTE is this so called “country music”
Maybe my definition of country music is wrong, but country and folk are not totally exclusive to one another. Music about hardship, struggle, real life, real emotion.
Hank Williams is the undisputed King. That will never be challenged by anyone. However I really believe that JTE belongs in his kingdom.
December 12, 2010 @ 8:52 am
I just saw JTE in Jacksonville, blew me away. His voice is awesome and I really wish he would stick to his live band on record. He played some brand new new song I think it was called “Won’t Be The Last Time” or something like that….it was a slow song something like Someday I’ll be Forgiven For This. Apparently he’s working on a new album for next year. It was a great show and I’m glad I got to see him in such a small place…it was actually a restaurant instead of a bar or a club this time. I also have a new love of Harlem River Blues after hearing most of it live and hearing the stories that go along with the songs. Christchurch Woman is a new favorite I think.