For a rough-looking guy with a giant beard, Jamey Johnson has done relatively well in mainstream country music, with award nominations and a top ten hit, “In Color.” However, “In Color” was a touching track about a veteran showing old pictures to his grandson, the sort of thing that tends to do well at country radio. What about when Johnson’s label floats a track that contains lyrics about smoking pot in a church parking lot?
What were the 80 most important musical recordings, artists, trends, events, and performances of 2008? What were the eight things this year that broke our hearts—or, at least, our ears? We’re happy to announce 80 ’08 (and Heartbreak), Idolator’s year-end overview. The list is below the jump.
Reviews of Jamey Johnson always call him a country traditionalist, and he is; the guy clearly worships (and draws low sodden anchored-to-the-bottom-of-the-ocean vocal influence from) Waylon Jennings, who probably never made an album this great. But calling Johnson a traditionalist ignores certain trappings—in a way, his grey-blurred and desolate album cover, his scraggly pioneer’s goatee, and his use of open space and clanking belfry sound effects align Johnson more with gothic art-metal acts like Neurosis than with anybody else on country radio.