This time
it's personal...

My name is Jay Johnson and I’m a junkie, a music junkie that is. I’m the kind of guy that would have no qualms about entering a darkened alley strewn with broken glass, needles and used condoms for a chance to get closer to my honky tonk heroes. I want to hear second, third or fourth hand all the stories about the Billy Joe Shaver that Kris Kristofferson wrote of in The Fighter-- “But there wasn’t nothin’ like Billy Joe Shaver. When he showed up sick later all bit by a spider. And crazy to look in the eye. He put on a show that was sad as it should have been. And nobody even knew why.” Panama Red was there when the music I love most came into being. He wasn’t just there. He was part of it, making it happen. He has told me stories about writing the country standard Bottom Dollar after being evicted from the warm confines of Billy Joe and Brenda Shaver’s couch in Nashville. Bottom Dollar was a reality before it became a song. Believe me, when he starts on those stories such as the one about restringing and tuning Ramblin’ Jack Elliott’s guitar, I sit up straight, put my beer down and lean in close so I don’t miss anything. Okay, the part about putting my beer down is a lie, but you get the idea. In addition to writing a bunch of great songs, Panama wrote one called “Blues for Judas” that is nothing short of genius manifested. I’ve traveled with Panama. Panama has stayed in my home. Panama is my friend. So, the mantra for next Saturday night is “this time it’s personal.”