The Guitar Song
It’s rare when new traditional “hat-acts” play outside the box, which is why Jamey Johnson’s fourth studio LP is a must-hear. The Guitar Song is a double concept album boasting 25 tunes. The first half is Johnson’s Black Album, where he bequeaths downtrodden honky-tonk songs. “Lonely At the Top” plays like an old saloon-serenade as Johnson lampoons those who complain about success. He turns Mel Tillis’ “Mental Revenge” into an acoustic front-porch dirge, while his own “That’s How I Don’t Love You” and “Heartache” are deeply darkened laments that make Ryan Adams’ ballads sound like Katrina & The Waves. The second half comprising Johnson’s White Album vibrates with upbeat twang-rock. It opens with the beer-joint boogie of “By the Seat of Your Pants” before the hilarious “California Riots” recalls David Allan Coe’s “Willie, Waylon And Me.” “Macon” is a lighter-hoisting, Skynyrd-esque Southern rock anthem that’s sure to get good ol’ boys taking their shirts off and yelling at Johnson’s live shows.