THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH - live review
Alabama boy sticks to rawboned '70s sound
Saturday, January 31, 2009 1:13 AM
By Aaron Beck
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
If there's a country fan out there searching for a guy who looks and sounds "country," seek out Jamey Johnson the next time the Alabama boy hits central Ohio.
During a sold-out show last night in the strip-mall roadhouse Screamin' Willie's, Johnson delved deeply into his second album, That Lonesome Song.
The record, released last summer, is anchored by one of the best tunes out of Nashville during the past decade, In Color, and is up for three Grammy Awards on Feb. 8.
The song - and everything else played by the baritone and a sturdy six-piece honky-tonk band that starred a nimble pedal steel player beautifully whining his way through most of the material - harkened mainly to the raw-boned '70s country of Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams Jr. and recent Screamin' Willie's guest David Allan Coe.
While none of the 1,100 audience members heard Johnson attempting to sing In Color over their own voices, they did get to hear the 33-year-old share many a tale inspired by love gone sour (Jennings' The Door is Always Open), too many overnights in a Chevy pickup (That Lonesome Song), praying and smoking pot in a Baptist church parking lot (High Cost of Living), and on down the line through a rough patch of tears-in-your-beer road.
They also heard a new song, the slow-burning Nothing Is Better Than You, which is the only tune the audience didn't mouth every word to.
By way of introducing the new one, Johnson said: "Later tonight when ya'll get home, have a drink and think about this new song a little and get back to me, all right? Ya'll got your Facebook, your Myspace, get on there and let me know what ya'll think. We don't wanna come back here to Columbus and waste your time if we're boring ya' with somethin'."
Given the reaction upon the song's conclusion, Johnson probably doesn't have much to worry about.