Country powerhouse opens up about the heartbreaking injury that changed his life Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Stagecoach
INDIO, CA - APRIL 29: Musician Jamey Johnson performs on the Palomino Stage during day 2 of 2017 Stagecoach California's Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club on April 29, 2017 in Indio, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Stagecoach)

If you’re a big fan of Jamey Johnson, then you might be wondering why it’s taking him so long to put out new music.

The country traditionalist, who has co-penned hits like “In Color” and George Strait’s “Give It Away,” hasn’t released an album of original material since 2010’s “The Guitar Song.” Rest assured, he has a very good reason for putting his penmanship on hold.

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In a lengthy interview with Kentucky Country Music, Jamey cited a seven-year-old concussion for the delay of new material.

“I’m making progress on the creative parts of my brain. It’s been about seven years ago, I got a concussion. I slipped on some ice coming out of the studio one night and I hit my head pretty hard,” he explained, adding that he is “in no hurry” to finish an album. “What I found out from a neuroscientist out in Scottsdale, Ariz., here recently is that ever since then, my brain has been locked in a hyper vigilant state, which it focuses on survival. Anything that isn’t directly relevant to survival, it just doesn’t focus on it all anymore.”

Despite his unfortunate situation, Jamey is still able to write songs. In fact, in recent years he’s had success writing for artists like George and Willie Nelson. However, he continues to struggle with the ability to concentrate and draw inspiration for new ideas.

“The craft is still there. The inspiration isn’t always there and even when it is, it isn’t very easy for me to focus on it the way that I once did,” he said. “But it’s coming back little by little. So that’s one of the reasons for going so long.”

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These days, Jamey, the boyfriend of country and bluegrass musician Alison Krauss, has kept a pretty busy schedule as he’s been touring non-stop. But he says it would be nearly impossible to tour and write at the same time.

“The only way I’ll be able to completely write out of sheer inspiration, I’d have to come off the road for a period of time for a good while,” Jamey said, “I’m not ready to do that yet. The truth is, I really love it. I love traveling. I love playing all of these shows for all of these folks. I love that they love it, and I could do that for a long time.”

Nashville-based writer and Rare Country contributor Melinda Lorge has always been passionate about country music. Follow her @MelindaLorge and join the conversation @RareCountry.
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