Happy to sing: Awards are great, but Jamey Johnson is just fine with touring

“My dream already came true,” Johnson said in a bio. “All I ever wanted was to get to just ride around and sing country music. It’s cool when things happen along the way because those things I never thought I could achieve.”

The singer will perform Saturday in a sold-out show at Downstream Casino and Resort.

Moving to Nashville in 2000, the Alabama-born Johnson ran his own construction company while performing in the city’s Music Row. His first recording contract was signed in 2005 and led to “The Dollar.”

His next album launched his career to new levels. “That Lonesome Song,” released in 2008, reached platinum in the U.S. on the strength of songs such as “In Color” and “High Cost of Living.” “In Color” was named Song of the Year by the Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association.

The album’s reception led to the start of his next ambitious project, the double-album “The Guitar Song.” Arranged in a “Black Album” and “White Album,” it features thematically linked song sets, according to his bio.

“The original idea was always to do a double album,” Johnson said in the bio. “It is an album that is a tale. The first part is a very dark and sordid story. And then everything after that is progressively more positive, reassuring and redemptive.”

“My Way to You,” “Playing the Part” and “Heartache” all earned spots on U.S. Country charts, helping the album achieve a gold rating. In addition to his original work, “The Guitar Song” features renditions of Kris Kristofferson’s “For the Good Times,” Vern Gosdin’s “Set ‘Em Up Joe” and Mel Tillis’ “Mental Revenge.”

Placing the songs with the right emotion section was a simple process, Johnson said.

“Picking the songs for it was easy,” Johnson said. “They pretty much picked themselves. We just had to decide which album each one went on and at which point on the record should each one occur. Once we decided where each fit, it was a done deal.”

In addition to his own albums, Johnson has written songs for Trace Adkins (”Honky Tonk Badonkadonk”) and George Strait (”Give It Away”). He received Grammy nominations in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013 and won awards from the Academy of Country Music in 2007.

He’s OK with not having the name recognition as country’s bigger names, however.

“I chose this for me,” he told AL.com reporter Mary Colurso in 2015. “I could be a lot bigger. There’s ways to go about becoming more popular. I don’t want to do that. That’s got nothing to do with writing songs, and it’s got nothing to do with traveling and singing or being me. And I’m not willing to give up the parts of me that I’d have to give up to gain things like that.”

Want to go? 

As of press time, tickets for Jamey Johnson’s Saturday concert at Downstream Casino and Resort were sold out. For more information about availability of tickets, call 918-919-6000.

From The Joplin Globe