Award-winning singer-songwriter Jamey Johnson has released a new song, “Alabama Pines,” on his new label, Big Gassed Records, to commemorate the 15th anniversary of his move to Nashville on Jan. 1,2000.
The song, which is his first new non-holiday original music in four years, is now available digitally.
“This was one of those songs that I had in mind when I was talking about the ones that didn’t seem to fit That Lonesome Song or Guitar Song,” he says. His 2008 album, That Lonesome Song, was certified platinum for 1 million in sales, and his 2010 double album, The Guitar Song, received a gold certification. Johnson's Livin' For A Song (his tribute to Hank Cochran) has sold over 300,000 copies to date.
He wrote the song in 2007 with Teddy Gentry, part of the famed group Alabama, and his close friend and former guitar player, Wayd Battle, as well as Carson Chamberlain, a noted songwriter and producer who played steel guitar for Keith Whitley.
“It was special because Wayd and Teddy and I are all from Alabama,” he says. “Not to take anything away from Carson’s contribution to it. I know he has a fondness for Alabamians or he wouldn’t have spent the day writing with three of them.”
The quartet wrote the song “By the Seat of Your Pants” so quickly that spring day that they had time to write another one. The result was “Alabama Pines.”
“What I had in mind as we wrote that day was my last day in Alabama before I moved to Nashville, which was New Year’s Eve in 1999,” he says. “That is why the song mentions sitting on the front porch swing on New Year’s Eve and black-eyed peas, the official side vegetable of New Year’s.”
On Jan. 1, 2015, he was in the studio working with longtime collaborator T.W. Cargile and realized it was his 15th anniversary. “It occurred to us that today would be a great day to put that out,” he said.
Johnson quietly made the song available to fans for a short time for free online, along with a posting of a handwritten letter about the song. “It was my 15th anniversary in town and I took the opportunity to do something I couldn’t do 15 years earlier, which is give all my friends and fans a free song. And now it’s for sale to everyone.”
This is the first single release of Big Gassed Records and it follows the late 2014 release of Johnson’s five-song EP, The Christmas Song. One of the reasons he formed his own label is to have the ability to release music how and when he sees fit, whether it’s a song or album at a time.
“I’m excited about the new label because it gives me freedom and control of my own music,” he says. “It lets me release my music to my fans when I’m ready.”
There has been great anticipation about Johnson’s new music. The 11-time Grammy nominee is “one of the greatest country singers of our time,” according to the Washington Post. He is one of only a few people in the history of country music to win two Song of the Year Awards from both the CMA and ACMs—for “Give It Away” and “In Color.”
He has received tremendous praise from The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Wall Street Journal and other publications, many of which have hailed his albums as masterpieces. He is currently writing and recording new music.