TENNESSEAN - Coverage from Jamey's GOLD party
Jamey Johnson's gold sales party is as unique as he is
By Cindy Watts • May 22, 2009
Parties celebrating career milestones happen on Music Row almost every week, most commonly in acknowledgement of No. 1 songs. Industry insiders leave the office a little early, partake in an open bar, clap politely and catch up on weekly entertainment news.
Tuesday, Jamey Johnson celebrated the gold sales status (500,000 copies sold) of his debut Mercury Records release, That Lonesome Song, with a party at BMI. The open bar and polite applause were still in effect, but about 300 people showed up to celebrate at this rooftop party (roughly twice as many as usually attend a comparable event), which went longer and louder and featured far more salty language than your average Music Row shindig.
Given Johnson's penchant for bucking trends, with his rough and rowdy appearance and traditional sound, it's not surprising that the singer's party was a little different, or that so many people wanted to come out to celebrate.
"Jamey Johnson is an artist this generation of country music needs," said Clay Bradley, assistant vice president, BMI writer/publisher relations. "This record is evidence that music can be made for more than teenage girls, and that there's a loyal and diverse fan base out there for Jamey Johnson and others like him."
Stars show their support
Numerous fellow country singers also showed up to lend their support, not something that normally happens at such gatherings. Those in attendance included: Oak Ridge Boys Joe Bonsall, Duane Allen, Richard Sterban and William Lee Golden; Keith Anderson; Holly Williams; Whispering Bill Anderson; Kimberly Schlapman and Phillip Sweet of Little Big Town; and Teddy Gentry of Alabama.
"All of us should be striving to make country music a family," Johnson said before his party started. "It used to be (a family), and not this competitive sport it's turned into. I'm flattered to have other artists at this party. … When it's all said and done, no one is going to remember who sold more records. What's going to matter is relationships."
After all, relationships fostered the success of That Lonesome Song, specifically the trust Universal Music Group Chairman and CEO Luke Lewis initially put in the album, which was recorded before the singer had a deal. Johnson said Lewis was the first label executive who didn't require him to alter the project before agreeing to put it out. On Tuesday, Lewis shared no regrets.
"I think That Lonesome Song is one of those projects you can give to people who don't know anything about country music and be proud of it," Lewis said. "I've been in country music for … years, and this is probably the proudest moment of my career."
As for Johnson, he was just relieved radio played his first single, "In Color," and that country music fans reacted to it.
"I don't even know what to say except 'Thank you' to every single person that bought a record or came to see a show," he said. "We'll keep making country music."