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Jamey Johnson

Jamey Johnson has proven a lot of people wrong. Not so much the people who thought Nashville wouldn't be interested in him at all; the Alabama native has,

Jamey Johnson mows down skeptics and roses.
James Minchin
Jamey Johnson mows down skeptics and roses.

after all, written or co-written several hit songs, including Trace Adkins's "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" (that's right) and George Strait's "Give It Away," which gave King George his record 42nd No. 1 single in 2006. But as far as Johnson's own music goes, few people thought his molasses-thick drawl and ornery, steel-heavy sound — heavily indebted to Hank Williams Jr. and David Allan Coe or, as Johnson himself puts it, "somewhere between Jennings and Jones" — could gain much commercial traction in today's airbrushed country climate. Well, since Mercury released That Lonesome Song last summer, the poignant "In Color" (about his grandfather thumbing through some old photographs) hit the Top 10, won the Academy of Country Music's Song of the Year and helped the album go gold. In turn, "In Color" helped pave the way for subsequent singles, such as gripping recovery account "High Cost of Living" — probably the first time the words "cocaine" and "whore" have been sung on 93Q in ages — and "Mowin' Down the Roses," in which Johnson gleefully throws his marriage under the blades of his ol' John Deere.

 
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