JOHNSON CONTINUES TO TOUR NATIONWIDE AS HE RECORDS NEW ALBUM
NASHVILLE, TN — (August 11, 2011) –Mercury Nashville singer/songwriter Jamey Johnson will perform at Farm Aid 2011 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., on Saturday, Aug. 13, joining his friend and tour mate Willie Nelson and the other Farm Aid founders to support our nation’s family farmers.
Farm Aid is the longest running benefit concert series in America, raising more than $39 million to help family farmers thrive all over the country while inspiring millions of people to learn about the Good Food movement.
“When I was a kid, we had a little bit of land and just about every bit of it was farm,” says Johnson, who also performed at Farm Aid last year. “We would grow peas over here, a little bit of corn over there, and squash and figs. I can’t even name for you everything that we grew from this land. But the fact that we couldn’t make enough money to sustain it meant that we had to eventually move off of it and let it go to someone else.
“When I drive by that property today, there’s not a farm there anymore,” says Johnson, a native of Alabama. “It’s just grass, and that’s a shame. As much love and as much care as we took making sure that these different crops survived and thrived every year, it’s kind of a shame to see it turn into a hayfield. And that goes for everybody who wants to farm. They should be able to make enough money off of the sized land or the sized crops they are doing to sustain that much land, and they can’t.”
Johnson says you don’t have to know a farmer to care about Farm Aid.
“Farm Aid is not just important to me, it’s important to anybody who eats,” he says. “Farm Aid is set up to look after the family farmer, the ones that actually take part in the same crops that they produce for other people. They are not just growing food to send down the line; their family eats the same foods that they sell.”
Johnson is a big believer in Farm Aid’s practice of showcasing HOMEGROWN concessions, featuring local, organic or family farm-sourced ingredients at the event. “It makes no sense to cater in a meal from a frozen food or something like that when you’ve got people right up the road that grow the same product and actually grow a superior product,” he says. “The thing you’ll see at Farm Aid is people who practice what they preach. They want you to see the fruits and vegetables of their labor.
“It doesn’t take you long to realize that these are skilled farmers. For most of these farmers, it’s a trade that has been passed down from generation to generation, and as far back as they can remember, you know everybody in their family did this for a living. So this is a skill; it’s an art.”
Johnson recently completed the Country Throwdown Tour with Willie Nelson and he’s now touring the nation with his own shows. On Sept. 1, Johnson will serve as the first official performer at the Grand Opening of Track 29, Chattanooga, Tenn.’s new premiere entertainment venue.
While the set lists and venue sizes may change, one thing remains constant with his shows. “What the fans can expect is a great deal of good music by highly trained musicians that never sit back on their accomplishments,” he says. “My stage is full of the best musicians I could find, and we’ve gotten to be real good friends, as close as family over the past several years. Every time we pack a stage, we are doing some songs for the first time that night that we’ve never even had a rehearsal on that maybe we haven’t heard in quite awhile. So we get to come up with our own unique versions of it.
“Just the other night, we pulled out an old song that I’ve never played onstage but I’ve been hearing my whole life, and we managed to do a version of it that doesn’t sound like anybody else,” he says. “I feel that’s what our fans pay for when they come to see us play live. They want to see that degree of spontaneity. I mean, you may hear some stuff that we do every night, you may hear some stuff we do quite often, but every night we try to branch out a little bit and try something out. If it falls apart, I guarantee you, you’ll see us standing around and laughing at one another and we’ll go and do something else.”
When describing his fans, Johnson says two words come to mind: passionate and loyal. “And they get the same degree of both from me,” he says. “There’s a warm and kindred fellowship every time we get together. Sometimes we see the same faces, and man, it’s good to see them. Every time I step on a stage, I look out there across the crowd and I see a couple smiling faces that I’ve seen several times a year for the past five or six years or so. I can’t tell you what that means for me. It’s very important. It’s very soothing just to know that they’re still there.”
Johnson will perform at the 5th Annual ACM Honors, which will be held at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on Sept. 19. He will pay tribute to his good friend, singer / songwriter Hank Cochran, who passed away in 2010.
He is currently writing and recording songs for his new album, the follow-up to his gold-certified double album, The Guitar Song, which was nominated for two Grammys, including Country Album of the Year. It was also nominated for Album of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards.
The Nashville Scene’s 11th Annual Country Music Critics’ Poll named The Guitar Song the best album of 2011 and named Johnson Artist of the Year, Best Male Vocalist and Best Songwriter. Both Rolling Stone and Spin ranked the album No. 5 on their lists of the Best Albums of 2010 and “Macon” was ranked No. 23 on Rolling Stone’s Best Singles of 2010.