Some country artists like to go along with the new sound on country radio. Others like to stick to the roots of the genre and make genuine country music. Addison Johnson is definitely in the latter group. Hailing from Greensboro, North Carolina, Johnson loves to make music with influences from traditional country, bluegrass and Americana. Among the artists he considers his biggest influences are George Jones, Waylon Jennings, Lefty Frizzell, Alan Jackson and Sturgill Simpson. That’s a pretty great group of artists if I do say so myself. Johnson is also known to utter the quote, “country music is not just about pickup trucks.” I think you get the picture with Johnson: he loves to listen to and make traditional country. His latest single “Can’t Go To Heaven” is certainly a reflection of this.
It’s a rollicking, honkytonk tune about a guy raising hell and living life dangerously by partying and drinking all the time. Of course living this life has consequences for the man. The preacher man tells him that he can’t go to heaven raising this much hell and later on in the song his woman, who was ready to settle down and have a family, dumps him and puts the house up for sale. The instrumentation is mostly steel guitar, which is just great to my ears. It really gels well with the theme of the song and is very much in the vein of the Bakersfield/traditional sound. Johnson’s voice is a natural fit for this type of music too. He clearly knows he was meant to make traditional country music.
Addison Johnson may be an unknown, up and coming artist right now, but if he continues to make music like this he’ll be known soon enough. And what’s great for Johnson is he already knows what kind of artist he is. Too many new artists experiment with different sounds and ultimately go the most profitable route, instead of what naturally fits them. Johnson is traditional country and that’s what he’s making. You definitely need to give “Can’t Go To Heaven” a listen. Addison Johnson is a traditional country artist to keep an eye on.