Mercury Records is excited to announce that Award-winning singer/songwriter Jamey Johnson’s new album, LIVING FOR A SONG: A TRIBUTE TO HANK COCHRAN has been nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Country Album category. The Buddy Cannon-produced record is graced with some of the biggest names in country music and is an homage befitting an American master who had songs on the country charts for nearly half a century. Cochran, who died at age 74 in 2010, is considered one of the greatest songwriters in the history of country music. He helped create the template for writing the perfect country song and had an uncanny knack for capturing the gut-wrenching depths of heartache so powerfully, yet so simply.
LIVING FOR A SONG: A TRIBUTE TO HANK COCHRAN has been receiving raves in the press. The New York Times hailed, “Nobly intentioned, it’s the work of an ascendant purist…With this album Mr. Johnson proves not only that he plays well with others, but also that his cantankerous charm flows out of a sentimental continuum,” while Rolling Stone awarded the album a glowing 4-star review, noting, “Nashville leading light organizes warm, star filled homage.” Entertainment Weekly said that the “Nashville outlaw Johnson captures that hardscrabble romanticism on these Cochran covers,” while the LA Times called the record “staggeringly beautiful.” The Associated Press called the record “a deep look at the songwriter’s career,” and the NY Daily News defined it as “one of contemporary country’s most authoritative vocalists covers the songs of a Nashville classic.” CMT cheered, “”Thank the Lord for country risk-takers,” and NPR’s Fresh Air said, “there was nothing limited or constrained about the emotions that were poured into Cochran’s sentiments. In the throats of the right singers, such as those Jamey Johnson has assembled here, nearly all of them sound like heartbreaking classics.”
“If I had to dream up somebody like Hank to influence songwriters, I couldn’t have done a better job,” Johnson says. “That’s what he was– not just for me, but for Willie and for a lot of people–just a helpful friend. If he knew you needed help with something, he could help you. He was there. And that’s what I want to be for the people in my life, same as Hank. He influenced me, not only as an artist and songwriter, but also as a person.”
A mentor to artists such as Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, Cochran’s catalog includes such standards as “I Fall to Pieces,” “She’s Got You,” “Make the World Go Away,” “The Chair,’ “Set ‘Em Up Joe” and “Ocean Front Property.” His songs have been recorded by artists including Eddy Arnold, Patsy Cline, George Jones, George Strait, Elvis Presley, Elvis Costello, Ray Price, Ronnie Milsap, Jim Reeves and many others.
The relationship between Johnson and Cochran was one of mutual admiration. Cochran loved Johnson’s music, his deep appreciation of traditional country music and their conversations about songwriting. Cochran was a storyteller’s storyteller, so his visits with Johnson gave him a fresh audience with someone eager to hear the stories of the good old days with Nelson, Haggard, Harlan Howard and other country music legends.
“Hank adored Jamey,” Hank’s widow Suzi Cochran, says. “Hank loved Jamey. Jamey was a constant in the last chapter of Hank’s life.
“This is incredible,” she says of the tribute album. “I wish Hank had been here to see it. He wouldn’t believe it. He would have cried. He’d be happy. It’s exactly like Hank would have done it.”