Jamey Johnson has “New Music Coming Soon.” This is according to the above banner splayed across his website this weekend, and syncs up with a message left on his Facebook page Thursday telling fans, “We will be announcing some very exciting things soon,” and urging fans to sign up for Jamey’s newsletter. This news comes after a protracted wait for new original music from Jamey that goes back to September of 2010 when he released his last original album of music, The Guitar Song. In 2012 Jamey also released Living For A Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran, but it did not contain any new Jamey Johnson-penned songs.
For a man known as a songwriter, it was certainly strange when four years passed without a peep of new music. February of 2013 is when Johnson first let on that a contract dispute was the reason for his lack of creative output, telling Rolling Stone, ““Financially speaking, they treat me worse than they ever did the Dixie Chicks. I feel pretty used by the music industry, in that my contracts are written in such a way that I don’t get paid ”¦ I wish I could tell you that I am writing. I’m not. I wish I could tell you I’m gonna go home next week and record another album. It’s not likely to happen.”
This led to speculation that the issue was with Jamey Johnson’s record label, Mercury Records. But when Saving Country Music contacted Mercury, they said Jamey Johnson was no longer signed to the label. Then finally in a Nashville Scene interview with Jewly Hight on July 9th, Johnson finally explained that it was not his label, but his publisher, EMI Music Publishing, that he had the contract beef with.
“I’ve already reached an agreement with Mercury Records that gave me what I wanted ultimately, which was my freedom,” Jamey told Nashville Scene. “I just wanted the ability to go, and they gave that to me. They also gave me the ability to come back, if I decided I wanted to come back. To me, that looks a lot like a revolving door, and that’s what I wanted. But most importantly, I wanted to be able to leave. If I can’t leave, then what’s the point in coming back? My appreciation to Mike Dungan [UMG Nashville Chairman/CEO] and the whole team at Mercury Records for allowing me that ability to come back after I leave. They could’ve slammed the door and locked it and said, ‘Man, enough.'”
Jamey Johnson may have been coy about the specifics of the contract dispute because he didn’t want to bad mouth his publisher publicly, or speaking out against the publisher directly may put him in violation of his contract, or may hurt his chances of receiving a fair solution through the legal process.
There is no news yet if Johnson’s contract disputes are over, or if he is just tired of fighting and is ready to release new music. There’s also no word on when this new music might be coming or in what capacity. But it is on the way nonetheless, and Jamey’s large and loyal fan base of traditional country fans could not be happier.