July 23, 2009
Interesting enough. It’s almost like Jamey Johnson decided to try his hand at a typical radio ballad – unspecific narrative about finding fulfillment in a significant other/God, rock bent, oversized electric guitar solo – just to show that he could make even that sound pretty cool.
Good thing the idea worked out alright. Expectations have become so bloated for Johnson that his career could suffer quite a dip if the follow-up to That Lonesome Song doesn’t manage to woo both critics and consumers again. This single’s savvy blend of commercial packaging and un-commercial delivery suggests that won’t be a problem.
Still, it’s hard not to be disappointed at the more middle-of-the-road features. As a piece of writing, “My Way To You” is nice, but ordinary; as a production, it’s pretty over-the-top. (Seriously, someone’s got to put a stop to these guitar solos. They could single-handedly kill this country music era’s chances of being taken seriously by future generations.)
And yet, as a vessel for Johnson’s hugely emotive vocals, it all comes together into something fairly compelling. Save for a sour tone or two at the end, his is an undeniable performance, the kind of passionate display that just seems to defy description or review. As long as that voice is around, mainstream country can’t help but sound a little more interesting.
Listen: My Way to You