I only first heard of Jamey Johnson when he had his most commercial song on the Billboards back in 2008, “In Color.” I enjoyed that song and because at the time all my music was coming off the top 40 country radio stations I never heard anything else by him. By 2010 I was starting to look for better stuff than the radio provided so I bought his album “That Lonesome Song” (and a couple of his other albums) to see what he was all about. What I found out is he is a very good song writer and has an interesting singing voice.
Most of his songs are about the darker side of life and love. His characters are men suffering through loneliness, disfunction, addiction and loss. Even the couple of comical songs are about broken relationships. “In Color” is the exception. Although the song chronicles the fearful existence through the Great Depression and WW II it ends on a very high note. But there are several songs on the album that even though full of sadness and regret are undoubtedly very good. I’m sure in a group of songs this varied, there will be one or two that don’t click for every listener and that list will vary due to the variety in listeners. But my opinion is that this is an excellent country album. My favorites are
- “High Cost of Living”
- “Place Out on the Ocean
- “In Color”
- “The Last Cowboy”
- “Dreaming My Dreams”
- “Between Jennings and Jones”
I will also qualify my recommendation of this album by saying that if someone doesn’t like sad songs then this album won’t be for him. Not every song is sad but this is definitely an album from the less sunny side of the street.