red lights

Concert Livewire
basement tapes concert reviews cd reviews interviewsticket swap music news

Practice makes perfect

Jamey Johnson with Amanda Watkins
The Rave
Milwaukee, WI
September 28, 2013
Jamey Johnson
Jamey Johnson
Amanda Watkins
Amanda Watkins
Jamey Johnson
Jamey Johnson

Review and photos by Jennifer Bronenkant

The last time Jamey Johnson appeared in Milwaukee was in 2010, a year that had Johnson performing in Milwaukee three times - at The Pabst Theater, The Riverside Theater and Miller Park as part of the Farm Aid 25 Concert.

In the time that has past since his last visit, Johnson has developed a confidence on stage that only enhances the magic of his deeply rich and slowly deliberate vocal delivery. It is all about the music at his shows. There is no flashiness in style or staging as is seen with most current Nashville acts. Johnson doesn't engage in any audience chit chat except for thanking them for coming. The seven piece band of well seasoned musicians delivers a no bullshit solid salt of the earth Country sound. The group includes electric guitar, pedal steel guitar, bass, two drummers and a keyboards/fiddle player led by Johnson and his acoustic guitar.

The crowd enthusiastically sang along with Johnson's most commercial hits along with covers of newer material but many seemed unfamiliar with Outlaw and Country classics like Waylon Jennings' "Amanda" and Johnny Paycheck's "11 Months, 29 Days." The greatest hits bias in the crowd is probably due to the fact that the show was sponsored by a Milwaukee radio station with a playlist heavy on current Nashville pop. At least Johnson's show exposed the crowd to the roots of Country that they may not have the opportunity to hear much around here.

The set opened with a powerful "High Cost Of Living" which had the audience singing along from the first note. The set included several of his biggest hits to please the crowd such as "That Lonesome Song and "Can't Cash My Checks." Mixed in to his own collection of hits, Johnson put his spin on covers including a hauntingly dark rendition of "You Are My Sunshine," homages to friends and country greats including the late George Jones with "The One I Loved Back Then" and Willie Nelson with "Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground" along with upbeat covers of "Tulsa Time" and "Dixieland Delight" and a even a classic rock number in Bob Seeger's "Turn The Page."

Johnson's young daughter Kylee joined him on stage for the sing along of his greatest hit "In Color." The two hour set ended with a rousing performance of Hank Williams' "I Saw The Light."

Opening act Amanda Watkins, accompanied by Johnson's longtime guitar player Cowboy, got the crowd warmed up with a sexy Country set in a style reminiscent of Gretchen Wilson.

Related articles:

Jamey Johnson (Farm Aid 2013) - Festival review - Saratoga Springs, NY - September 2013
Jamey Johnson (Farm Aid 2012) - Festival review - Hershey, PA - September 2012
Jamey Johnson (Farm Aid 2011) - Festival review - Kansas City, KS - August 2011
Jamey Johnson / Josh Thompson - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - December 2010
Jamey Johnson (Farm Aid 2010) - Festival review - Milwaukee, WI - October 2010
Jamey Johnson (Country Throwdown 2010) - Festival review - Tinley Park, IL - May 2010

The Set List:
High Cost Of Living
Place Out On The Ocean
That Lonesome Song
You Are My Sunshine
Can't Cash My Checks
The One I Loved Back Then (The Corvette Song)
I Fall To PIeces
11 Months, 29 Days
The Guitar Song
Keep Your Hands To Yourself
Dixieland Delight
If I Was Over You - with Amanda Watkins
Big River
Lonely At The Top
By The Seat Of Your Pants
In Color
Just Give It Away
Turn The Page
Tulsa Time
Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground
Mowing' Down The Roses
I Saw The Light

Jamey Johnson
Jamey Johnson & Amanda Watkins
Jamey Johnson
Jamey Johnson
Jamey Johnson
Jamey Johnson

What Do You Think?



City & State:

e mail:

Here's Your Chance to.... Respond!

Your feedback will be featured on
Rant or Rave within 24 hours.

Return to Reviews
Return to Menu