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Jamey Johnson celebrated the release of his new album, Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran , with a mesmerizing performance last night (Oct. 16) at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. But he didn’t go it alone: the bearded renegade was joined by many of the guests who appear on the musical salute to the revered late songwriter.
Alison Krauss kicked off the evening, duetting with Jamey on Hank’s “Make the World Go Away” and “I Fall to Pieces,” both showcasing her angelic voice. Ronnie Dunn appeared next for a rousing take on the jukebox staple “A-11,” while Emmylou Harris waited in the wings to sing “Don’t Touch Me.”
However, it was the surprise guest who followed a set of solo performances from Jamey—including a stellar “Would These Arms Be in Your Way”—that brought the Ryman to its feet: Willie Nelson. The country legend, and a dear friend of Hank, accompanied Jamey on a number of Hank gems, including a moving take on the album’s title track. But Willie being Willie, he couldn’t resist delighting the audience with a spirited run through his own “On the Road Again.”
“There are people like me out there who need to hear this type of writing and [Hank’s] style of music,” Jamey recently told Country Weekly. “Hank Cochran wrote some of the best songs in country music history.”