Jamey Johnson Pays Tribute To Friend And Mentor Hank Cochran
Tribute Album Hits Stores Oct. 16, Includes A Roster Of Guest Stars
You may not been too familiar with the name Hank Cochran, but Jamey Johnson (right) wants to change that. The 37-year-old country star has recorded an album of songs penned by the legendary country songwriter, and has enlisted the help of a roster of fellow country stars (plus rock legend Elvis Costello) to contribute to the project as well. They include Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, George Strait, Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Ray Price, Ronnie Dunn, Vince Gill, Lee Ann Womack and several others.
Johnson’s “Livin’ For a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran” is set for an Oct. 16 CD and digital release, but in a fitting gimmick, it will first be available on vinyl starting Sept. 25.
Cochran (pictured below) died of pancreatic cancer in 2010 at age 74, and five-time Grammy Award nominee Johnson is committed to bringing some of his friend and mentor’s greatest compositions to a new audience. The two men became close friends in the last two years of Cochran's life.
“If I had to dream up somebody like Hank to influence songwriters, I couldn’t have done a better job,” Johnson says in a press release announcing the project. “That’s what he was—not just for me, but for Willie and for a lot of people—just a helpful friend. If he knew you needed help with something, he could help you. He was there. And that’s what I want to be for the people in my life, same as Hank. He influenced me, not only as an artist and songwriter, but also as a person.”
Adds Nelson, who performs on three of the album’s 16 songs, “When you start talking about songwriters, you’ve got to say his name first. Then you start talking about everybody else. I think everybody would agree that Hank was the best writer up there.”
Says Haggard, who appears on two tracks, “It’s important historically for people to know who Hank Cochran was and what he did. He always wanted to be the Hemingway of country music and I think he did it.”
Cochran’s catalog includes such standards as “I Fall to Pieces,” “She’s Got You,” “Make the World Go Away,” “The Chair,’ “Set ‘Em Up Joe” and “Ocean Front Property,” not all of which are included on the tribute, leaving room for a potential second volume. His songs have been recorded by a roster of stars including Eddy Arnold, Patsy Cline, George Jones, Strait, Elvis Presley, Costello, Price, Ronnie Milsap, Jim Reeves and many others.
Here’s the project’s full track listing:
• “Make the World Go Away” – Jamey Johnson and Alison Krauss
• “I Fall to Pieces” – Jamey Johnson and Merle Haggard
• “A Way to Survive” – Jamey Johnson, Vince Gill and Leon Russell
• “Don’t Touch Me” – Jamey Johnson and Emmylou Harris
• “You Wouldn’t Know Love” – Jamey Johnson and Ray Price
• “I Don’t Do Windows” – Jamey Johnson and Asleep at the Wheel
• “She’ll Be Back” – Jamey Johnson and Elvis Costello
• “Would These Arms Be in Your Way” – Jamey Johnson
• “The Eagle” – Jamey Johnson and George Strait
• “A-11” – Jamey Johnson and Ronnie Dunn
• “I’d Fight the World” – Jamey Johnson and Bobby Bare
• “Don’t You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me” – Jamey Johnson and Willie Nelson
• “This Ain’t My First Rodeo” – Jamey Johnson and Lee Ann Womack
• “Love Makes a Fool of Us All” – Jamey Johnson and Kris Kristofferson
• “Everything But You” – Jamey Johnson, Vince Gill, Willie Nelson and Leon Russell
• “Livin’ for a Song” – Jamey Johnson, Hank Cochran, Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson
about the blogger
Veteran entertainment journalist Phyllis Stark has been reporting extensively on the music industry for two decades. As a freelance writer, her work appears regularly in numerous publications and sites. She previously was Nashville Bureau Chief at Billboard magazine.