Jamey Johnson has taken a good long break between albums -- and recently, he opened up to Kentucky Country Music about why. He says that he is working on new music, but he's in no big hurry, and for a couple of good reasons.

"...I’m in no hurry and no rush to get it done. I'm making progress on the creative parts of my brain," Johnson says in an in-depth interview. "It’s been about seven years ago, I got a concussion. I slipped on some ice coming out of the studio one night and I hit my head pretty hard. What I found out from a neuroscientist out in Scottsdale, Ariz., here recently is that ever since then, my brain has been locked in a hyper vigilant state, which it focuses on survival. Anything that isn’t directly relevant to survival, it just doesn’t focus on it all anymore.

"So out went the songwriting, or the focus on songwriting, or even the openness to it even. I can still write. The craft is still there. The inspiration isn’t always there and even when it is, it isn’t very easy for me to focus on it the way that I once did," Johnson adds. "But it’s coming back little by little. So that’s one of the reasons for going so long.

He continues, "The other would be that we have been touring so aggressively for the past 10 or 12 years that it’s just not in harmony with what is required for me to be successful in the writing room. The only way I’ll be able to completely write out of sheer inspiration, I’d have to come off the road for a period of time for a good while. I’m not ready to do that yet. The truth is, I really love it. I love traveling. I love playing all of these shows for all of these folks. I love that they love it and I could do that for a long time. I don’t see me ever quitting it."

Johnson says, however, that he is working with John Carter Cash on a project dedicated to Cash's father, Johnny Cash. The album is a collection of collaborations, including one with the late Chris Cornell, and a couple that Johnson himself got to help flesh out.

"He’s working on an album where’s he’s pairing up these songs with songwriters from our day to finish up these Johnny Cash songs," says Johnson. "Of course, the music, it just kind of washes over. It’s what I think Johnny, in the same vein of what Johnny would sing.  If I was writing with Johnny Cash, it wouldn’t be any different I don’t think unless he had something really awesome to consider. It was really fun to do that. I know that John Carter is really excited about to put that out. I sure was."

A current tour schedule can be found on Johnson's website.

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