Jamey Johnson is a relative newcomer to the country music scene whose first single, the heart- wrenching The Dollar, was released in 2005. He has quickly developed into a music- lover's musician who has earned the near-rabid respect of his peers and fans.
His live performances — he plays Renfro Valley Entertainment Center this weekend in a show that was nearly sold out at press time — are as passionate as his fans are loyal. Critics love him, too. He's been nominated for a bushel basket of Grammy Awards since 2007, his most recent a 2013 nomination for his album Living for a Song: A Tribute To Hank Cochran. It features performances from Leon Russell, Vince Gill, Ray Price, George Strait, Elvis Costello, Bobby Bare, Asleep at the Wheel, Emmylou Harris, Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson.
His latest solo outing was the double album The Guitar Song, released to critical acclaim in 2011. The album and its single Macon earned Grammy nominations that year, as did his performance with Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert in Bad Angel.
He writes not just for himself but for his colleagues: Johnson has co-written singles for Strait, Trace Adkins, James Otto, Joe Nichols and Jessie James. His own thought-provoking hits High Cost of Living and In Color sit next to the outlandish Adkins hit Honky Tonk Badonkadonk, which he co-wrote.
In 2006, Strait had a No. 1 hit with Give It Away, co-written by Johnson, Bill Anderson and Buddy Cannon. Johnson helped Adkins earn his first No. 1 hit in 10 years in 2007 with Ladies Love Country Boys. He also co-wrote Nichols' top 20 hit, Another Side of You.
He says he is heavily influenced by rebel country greats Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams.
Johnson might just be the next truly great rebel of country music.
IF YOU GO
When: 8 p.m. April 6
Where: Renfro Valley Entertainment Center, Interstate 75, Exit 62, Renfro Valley
Tickets: $40-$55; available at 1-800-765-7464 or Renfrovalley.com.