Fly fishing gear

Montgomery country artist Jamey Johnson reaches new heights as a pilot


  • For Sunday’s Jamey Johnson Homecoming concert at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, doors open at 5 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m.
  • Tickets can be purchased at jameyjohnson.com. They are $ 50 for the field level and $ 35 for the bowl seats
  • The concert is a fundraiser for the Nikki Mitchell Foundation, which helps families facing pancreatic cancer.
  • Toy donations will be accepted at the door for Toys for Tots.

Look up there in the sky. Is it a bird? Is it an airplane? Is it a … beard?

You might not know it, but country music star Jamey Johnson and his unmistakable mustache spent a few days here and there and above Montgomery during the pandemic.

After all, it’s been Johnson’s hometown since he was three. The Grammy-nominated artist, born in Enterprise and having lived early in Troy, began singing at Calvary Baptist Church in Montgomery. He learned a lot about music from his father, a French horn player, and instructors at Floyd Jr. and Jeff Davis schools. Life in the Alabama capital also shaped him to want to serve in the Marine Corps Reserves, which he did from 1994 to 2002. He even wears a Montgomery piece to all of his concerts – a guitar. covered with signature called “Old Maple” which he obtained in 1995 from Bailey Brothers.

Jamey Johnson, whose Homecoming concert is on Sunday at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, is training to be a professional pilot and has logged more than 500 hours.

Over the past year and a half, Montgomery is also where he did some of his flight training towards becoming a commercial pilot.

“So during the pandemic, I fell in Montgomery a few times, especially when I was there doing checkrides (FAA exams),” Johnson said. “I did all my checkrides there. And while I’m in town, I’ll be visiting people and things like that.”

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Johnson will be much more down-to-earth on Sunday at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, where he and several musician friends gather for Johnson’s annual homecoming concert. This is a fundraiser for the Nikki Mitchell Foundation, which helps families struggling with pancreatic cancer.

Doors open at 5 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at jameyjohnson.com. Standing-only field tickets are $ 50 and bowl seats are $ 35.

Jamey Johnson and his Old Maple guitar at the 2019 Homecoming concert at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery.

The life of a musician on tour

People often ask Johnson when his next album will be released. Her last – “Living For a Song” was in 2012. But the recording just isn’t where her heart was.

“No, I don’t have anything in the works. I’m not doing anything,” Johnson said. “You know, right now I’m a touring musician. That’s what I do. Yeah, that’s what I like.”

It is not an easy life. Tours, and everything associated with them, came to a halt last year during the pandemic. This has been a better year for Johnson, who said he and his group are busy. Some other artists are not so lucky.

“People who want to go on tour always find that it’s not even possible,” Johnson said. “Sometimes because we now have a shortage of bus drivers and truck drivers, to deal with the pandemic issues already present. We want to make safe shows for our listeners, but at the same time we also have a group and a team that we try to protect them. Part of their security means making money for them. When you put them home and they don’t make money, it doesn’t protect them.

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He said there has to be a “happy way” with safety precautions. He said they had that kind of balance in September when he played during Farm Aid. Johnson said the concert was a hit with the audience and was “as safe as it gets.”

He hopes for that kind of balance at Sunday’s Homecoming concert.

“You know the thing that’s out there this year that wasn’t there last year is that vaccination,” Johnson said. “It’s not a panacea. It’s not a 100% security protocol. But it’s something. It’s something that wasn’t there last year that is here this year. “

Johnson reaches new heights

So why did Johnson become a pilot during the pandemic? Honestly, he thought it would be cool to be able to fly himself when he wanted to go. Johnson has already been on tour for almost six years, studying and training with others, and has amassed just over 500 hours.

“I spent my free time while studying COVID,” Johnson said. “I’m a private pilot. A private multi-engine pilot. I got my single-engine and multi-engine instrument ratings. Some time to go do this checkride. I will get my commercial license.”

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So no, that bearded man you might see flying over Montgomery soon isn’t Santa on a morning jaunt.

So what is Johnson going to do when he gets his business license?

“I can fly away for a vacation and whatever I want to do. There is always a place to go,” Johnson said. “I keep dreaming of loading fishing gear and catching a plane to Montana or Alaska or somewhere. Land by a river, go fly fishing or that sort of thing. Who knows? Can? – be that this dream will come true too. “

You can follow his travels, at least the tour ones, at jameyjohnson.com.

Contact reporter Shannon Heupel of Montgomery Advertiser at [email protected]


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