Appearing in photo (L-R): Ken Levitan, Vector Management; Jamey Johnson, Mercury Nashville Recording Artist; Luke Lewis, Chairman, UMG Nashville Photographer Credit: Brian Kaplan
Universal Music Group Nashville presented Jamey Johnson with a plaque commemorating the gold certification of his ambitious 25-song double album, The Guitar Song, during a gathering Friday at the Palm in Nashville.
The Guitar Song is up for Album of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards and received two Grammy nominations — Country Album of the Year and Best Male Country Vocal performance for “Macon.”
The Nashville Scene’s 11th annual Country Music Critics’ Poll named The Guitar Song the best album of 2011 and named Johnson Artist of the Year, Best Male Vocalist and Best Songwriter. Both Rolling Stone and Spin ranked the album No. 5 on their lists of the Best Albums of 2010 and “Macon” was ranked No. 23 on Rolling Stone’s Best Singles of 2010.
UMG Nashville chairman Luke Lewis presented Johnson with the framed plaque. “I can’t be any prouder than to hand my friend Jamey Johnson a gold record,” Lewis told the crowd.
Also on hand to receive gold plaques were the album’s producers, Arlis Albritton, Dave Cobb and The Kent Hardly Playboys, and his manager, Ken Levitan.
Johnson thanked his band, producers, management and label staff for all they did to make the album a success.
“It’s always cool to stop what you’re doing and bring the whole team together,” he says. “These guys and gals usually don’t get to see each other on a regular basis, so it’s good that when they do, we’re celebrating an accomplishment like that. It’s something everybody worked equal parts on and holds an equal amount of responsibility for the success of it.”
“Everybody in this room has earned their money,” he says with a laugh, “and I appreciate it.”
Johnson is thankful for the honors and accolades the project has received and even more delighted that he could share the spotlight with those who don’t often receive attention for their work.
“We get positive feedback from the audience every night, so that is our thank you. But the people who work behind the scenes that maybe aren’t on the road with us and don’t’ get that immediate feedback, that immediate thank-you from people, it’s real important for them to get to come out and share a night like this with everyone else.”
“If it hadn’t had gone gold, we’d probably still have a party and patted each other on the back no matter what because it is a good team. It’s a great team of people working hard and getting it done. Music ain’t exactly the easiest profession to be in, but it’s one of the best, if you ask me.”
After the presentation, Johnson walked across the street to the Bridgestone Arena, where he performed as part of the Kid Rock tour.