Jamey Johnson honored a friend of his who served in the U.S. Marine Corps with his unreleased new song, “21 Guns.”
Johnson played his new track for the crowds at the Under the Big Sky Festival in Montana and at Durant, Oklahoma’s Choctaw Casino on July 8.
“I don’t do new songs very often,” Johnson said to the crowd as he introduced the new song. “I wrote one a couple of weeks ago. It’s about an old friend of mine in the Marine Corps,” he explained.
“Sitting in this field of limestone / Watching flags wave in the air / You know we’d love to take you back home / But there ain’t no place like this there / Preacher stammers through a nice verse / Does his best to eulogize / But times like this, there ain’t no right words / The rifles fire and your life flashes right before my eyes / And I don’t need no one to tell me you’re a hero / Hell I’ve known that ever since you were young / There are no words to say how proud we all are of you son / Nothing says job well done like 21 guns,” Johnson sang on the first two verses and chorus.
Prior to launching his country music career, Johnson served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Johnson was a mortar man in Company L, 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marines, the outlet reported. After serving for eight years, he left the military, but not before being made a corporal.
Johnson has released five albums thus far, beginning with They Call Me Country in 2002. His 2008 song, “In Color” (from his album That Lonesome Song) peaked at the No. 52 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, spending a total of 18 weeks there.
Following a long hiatus from country music, Johnson recently revealed why he hasn’t released any new material. Johnson said he sustained a concussion seven years ago which has impacted the creative parts of his brain.
“Out went the songwriting, or the focus on songwriting, or even the openness to it even,” Johnson explained of his concussion’s impact on his songwriting. “I can still write. The craft is still there. The inspiration isn’t always there and even when it is, it isn’t very easy for me to focus on it the way that I once did. But it’s coming back little by little. So that’s one of the reasons for going so long,” he said.
Johnson was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on May 14 of this year. Johnson is currently out on the road and touring through Oct. 15 when he plays the Legends of Music Row Music Festival in Key West, Florida.