A painter creates with a paint brush. A carpenter creates with wood. A songwriter creates with a pen and a story in mind. Some of my favorite tunes would have to be those that speak of emotion. One of my favorite songwriters, singers, performers to see live is Jamey Johnson. Now don’t say I’m on the “bandwagon” of fans that think he will save country music. Go back in time and you will see that I was a fan back from the moment that “The Dollar” was released to radio and the video was gaining airplay on GAC & CMT. One of my friends was in the ole Ernest Tubb Record Shop on Broadway downtown Nashville. She was looking in the bargain bin one day and came across “They Call Me Country” with a young clean shaved cowboy hat wearing Jamey Johnson. She gave it to me, unopened, still in its packaging. Needless to say, it opened up my eyes to his songwriting talents early on. I kept up with his career over the years, got the digital album back in 2007 and then later in 2008. It always makes me happy when I hear someone else say they dig his talents.
With Jamey Johnson, he can write a song about heartache, about revenge, about family, and about good times. Various songs have affected me over the years, just as many others. “Sweet Beulah Land” from his first album was a tune that I learned in church and was actually played at my sister in law’s funeral last year. “Angel” from “That Lonesome Song” album is one I related to as I went through a divorce that I thought would take forever before it would become final. Along those same lines, “That’s How I Don’t Love You,” comes to mind as well. Whenever things don’t seem to go my way, I always sing “Even the Skies are Blue.”
However one song that always has a special place in my heart would be “In Color.” Being a photographer, my life is really seen through the lens of a camera. I always have one on me, especially around my family. Needless to say, I’m thankful for that as when my sister in law passed away, we still have the photos I took as a reminder of her smiling face. When it comes to the part about the wedding in June and the rose in red, it reminds me of their wedding. I’m also reminded of all the family photos over the years of loved ones that have since passed on. Without photos, we have nothing to share with future generations of who we are.
Sometimes we don’t know what our destiny will be. We don’t know what tomorrow holds. When I think of where my life is, where it was, and where it may be, I think of “My Way to You.” And with that…I leave you with these lyrics from that tune:
There’s been high times
There’s been hard times
And there’s been times I couldn’t tell
If I’m living a good life
Or living a bad life
Cuz I’m always living fast as hell
I’m going down the wrong road
And living by the wrong code
And chasing after dreams that don’t come true
Looking for the right signs
And riding on the white lines
Just trying to find my way to you
Jessica Bray is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians. Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award Recipients. In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky. She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.