Eleven-time Grammy-nominated songwriter and recording artist Jamey Johnson, known for writing hits for the likes of George Strait, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and others, has signed with SESAC, the nation’s most progressive PRO and the only Music Rights Organization in the country, for representation.
“There is no doubt that Jamey Johnson is one of the most successful and well-respected songwriters in the industry,” says John Josephson, SESAC’s Chairman and CEO. “Jamey is a storyteller, crafting lyrics and music that transport listeners to another time and place, whether that place is a war zone or a night out with friends. SESAC is proud to welcome him to our affiliate family.”
“There is an old set of laws on the books where the courts decide how much songwriters get paid,” Johnson says. “It isn’t fair the courts are adhering to these archaic laws that were written before streaming music was even conceptualized. SESAC isn’t bound by those restrictions, so it made perfect sense to join the organization and eventually move my catalog there.”
In addition, Johnson has great relationships with several SESAC staff members, including Shannan Hatch, who is well respected in the industry and known for her passion of protecting songwriters. “Shannan is like family to me, which is another reason it makes perfect sense,” he says.
“The energy at SESAC is something I haven’t experienced in my professional career, and it’s great,” Johnson adds. “I need to be surrounded by people who are motivating me to write. One of those motivators is knowing that I have someone looking after the money generated from my writing, and that I am actually going to get the royalties that I feel like I have earned.”
Johnson is one of only a few songwriters who have won two Song of the Year awards from both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music. George Strait recorded Johnson’s song, Give It Away,” in 2006 and garnered a number one record, which also won both the CMA and ACM Song of the Year awards. (Strait has recorded several other Johnson compositions, and the two co-wrote “Kicked Outta Country” for Strait’s recently released box set, Strait Out of the Box: Part 3.)
In addition, Johnson took his song “In Color” to the top of the charts and garnered Song of the Year honors from both the CMA and ACM in 2009. Johnson is a prolific songwriter whose songs have been recorded by Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, James Otto, Joe Nichols, Jessie James Decker and others.
An Alabama native, Johnson moved to Nashville in 2000 after serving eight years in the Marine Corps. Trace Adkin’s hit song, “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk,” was among Johnson’s first cuts as a newcomer to Music Row. That same year, Johnson released his debut single, “The Dollar” from the album of the same name.
Called “one of the greatest country singers of our time” by The Washington Post, 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. The Nashville Scene has twice named Johnson’s albums as the year’s best album in its annual Country Music Critics’ Poll. (In 2011, it also named him artist of the year, best male vocalist and best songwriter.)
His influential 2008 album, That Lonesome Song, was certified platinum for 1 million in sales, and his innovative 2010 double album, The Guitar Song, which debuted at No. 1 on the country album charts, received a gold certification. In 2012, he released a Grammy-nominated project honoring one of his heroes, Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran, that paired him with Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris, Ray Price, Elvis Costello, George Strait, Vince Gill and Merle Haggard.
In addition to writing and recording his own music, Johnson’s upcoming projects include co-writes with John Carter Cash of unfinished works of Cash’s late father, Johnny Cash, that were recently found in archives. Johnson also is collaborating on projects with Sammy Kershaw and Willie Nelson.
The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter toured the United States earlier this year with “The Last Waltz 40 Tour: A Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of The Last Waltz” in tribute to The Band’s historic farewell concert. This spring, he launches an eight-city tour billed as the Stagecoach Spotlight Tour: Jamey Johnson, featuring special guests Margo Price and Brent Cobb.
Johnson’s affiliation is the latest in a string of prominent signings, which include Rosanne Cash, Kings of Leon, Randy Newman, Axl Rose, Green Day, George Clinton, REO Speedwagon’s Kevin Cronin and Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielson, recently joining the SESAC roster.