If you’re like me, you didn’t know who Jamey Johnson was before he opened for Lynyrd Skynyrd at Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center, but you sure as hell did afterward. This burly, bearded man who looked like he’d be right at home running moonshine blew me away as he finessed his prized, autographed guitar and poured his soul into the microphone. Johnson kicked off the set with “High Cost of Living” and was joined on the stage by his dad, Howard, for “That Lonesome Song.” The hug they shared afterward was touching and heartwarming. The crowd later went nuts for his hit single, “In Color,” and covers of Joe Walsh’s “Rocky Mountain Way” and Tom Petty’s “Last Dance with Mary Jane.”
Johnson engaged the audience between songs, talking about family, home, and the charity he’s currently supporting, the Shriner’s Children’s hospital. Although I’m not a big country music fan, I thoroughly enjoyed his set due to his amazing skill and talent, as well as that of the huge ensemble of musicians accompanying him on stage. The well-executed orchestration of multiple guitarists, a bassist, percussionist, backup singer, organist, fiddler, horn section, and a wonderfully charismatic zither player, created a deep, rich sound that beautifully complemented Johnson’s sound and style.