Jamey Johnson was born in Enterprise, Alabama. He was raised in Montgomery, Alabama. He was influenced by country music artists like Alan Jackson and the group Alabama. He first picked up a guitar to play when he was ten years old. He saved his money, and bought an Epiphone guitar which he named Old Maple. His friends would go with him to the grave of Hank Williams on Saturday night to drink beer and sing the legend’s songs.
Johnson attended Jacksonville State University, but quit college after two years, and served in the Marine Corps Reserves for eight years. He attained the rank of Corporal. He performed often for his Marine Corps buddies, and has kept in touch with many of them. After leaving the Marines, he started playing country music in bars and lounges in Montgomery. On one occasion, he even opened for David Allan Coe.
In 2000, Johnson had moved to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue a career in country music. Johnson took a job as a salesman for a sign company. He also worked for an industrial pumping company. He helped to run a construction firm for three years, restoring devastated buildings. He self-released an album called “They Call Me Country”. He did duet demos in Nashville for other country music artists.
Johnson also landed a songwriting contract with help from Buddy Cannon. Some of the lyrics he co-wrote were “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” for Trace Adkins, and for pop singer Jessie James, “My Cowboy”.
Jamey had been signed to a recording contract by 2005 with BNA Records. His first single was “The Dollar”. The single was followed by his debut album also entitled “The Dollar”, in 2006. “The Dollar” peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot Country Song charts.
Johnson lost his record deal, divorced his wife, and became a recluse, living in a friend’s house. He worked on more lyrics for other artists during this time. He co-wrote a big #1 for George Strait called “Give It Away”. Country music artist Trace Adkins also charted with two more of Johnson’s co-written lyrics in 2007; “Ladies Love Country Boys”, and “I Got My Game On” were the two country music songs. In 2007 Johnson was also part of the Fox TV series Nashville, which was cancelled after two episodes.
In 2008, Johnson released an album called “That Lonesome Song” which was only available online. Mercury Nashville Records took notice of the album, and signed him to a record deal in 2008. Jamey’s first single for this label was “In Color”, and was released in March 2008. Johnson co-wrote the lyrics along with Lee Thomas Miller and James Otto. The song peaked at #9 on the Country Music chart in 2009. One month later, he released “High Cost of Living”, which made it to the Top 40. In April of 2009, “That Lonesome Song” was certified Gold by the RIAA.
“My Way to You” was issued in 2009. This song was a lead off single to Johnson’s third major album. The song peaked at #52 in September 2009.
Johnson was nominated for the 2009 CMA Awards New Artist of the Year, and has been nominated for the 2010 Academy of Country Music Top New Solo Vocalist. His musical talents and songwriting abilities are well established in the country music world. This Alabama boy has made his way into many homes through his wonderful lyrics and music.