In concert last year in Kansas City, Jamey Johnson played a regular set of his own songs, then left the stage and returned for a second set that started with him proclaiming that he and opening act Randy Houser were going to get drunk and play country music, and he didn’t care who left or stayed. The lengthy set that followed revealed Johnson’s idea of a drunken party to be less rowdy than you might expect. It was two guys kicking back and playing dour, heartbreaking old country songs, slowly and earnestly.
When was the last time anybody in country music released a double studio album? Following up his stellar 2008 recording, That Lonesome Song, songwriter Jamey Johnson returns with the ambitious, sprawling 25-track The Guitar Song. The set's two discs are divided into thematic halves: the Black Album concerns itself primarily with darker, more complex situations in life, love, and loss, and the White Album focuses on more redemptive themes. It's not as simple as that, however; there is a yin-and-yang effect too, as evidenced by "Playing the Part," from the Black Album, which is an upbeat tune about surviving bad times in Hollywood.
Jamey Johnson is a dour traditionalist who mysteriously snuck past the mainstream-Nashville gatekeepers. Now he’s persuaded them to release a double album of the hard stuff. The Guitar Song. The moody set mixes covers of legends like Vern Gosdin with originals that ring so true they might as well be standards.