IF YOU GO
What: Track 29 grand opening featuring Jamey Johnson with Kalisa Ewing.
When: 8 p.m. Thursday.
Where: Track 29, 1400 Market St.
Venue website: www.track29.co.
To kick up the dust and shake the walls for its grand opening Thursday, the Track 29 music venue will host a concert by Jamey Johnson, a hardscrabble country artist with regional appeal.
Born in 1975, Johnson grew up in a poor, if musical, family in Enterprise, Ala., where he started out playing gospel music in area churches.
After spending eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, Johnson made his professional debut in 2005 with his hit single "The Dollar," which peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. The song also served as the title track of Johnson's second album in 2006.
In the years since, he has penned his fair share of hits, including co-writing with Randy Houser on "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk," which was popularized by Trace Adkins.
In 2009, Johnson was nominated as the 2009 New Artist of the Year at the Country Music Awards.
In a transcript of an Aug. 2 news conference for his appearance at the annual Farm Aid concert, Johnson credited his success to his fan base, which he described as passionate and loyal.
"And they get the same degree of both from me," he said. "Every time I step on a stage, I look out there across the crowd and I see a couple of smiling faces that I've seen several times a year for the past five or six years or so.
"I can't tell you what that means for me. It's very important."
Track 29 co-owner Adam Kinsey said the venue finalized booking Johnson in June. More than a week out from the concert, ticket presells for the show had Kinsey feeling "extremely confident" of a sell-out performance.
The stage and rigging at Track 29 are moveable, depending on a show's anticipated draw. For opening night, Kinsey said it will be set at maximum capacity to host a crowd of about 1,800.
Johnson's wide-ranging appeal, both stylistically and geographically, has played a role in ensuring a stellar start to the new venue, Kinsey said.
"A lot of people like Jamey Johnson," he said. "I think he crosses a couple of demographics and puts on a good show.
"People are starting to understand what Track 29 is and what it can be, [but] it can't be anything if people don't come out and support us."
SAVE THE DATE
Tickets to the following shows are on sale at www.track29.com.
Sept. 2: Local showcase with New Binkley Brothers, The Cadillac Saints, Glowing Bordis and others.
Sept. 9: Corey Smith (with American Aquarium and Canaan Smith)
Sept. 10: Drive-By Truckers The Shakes)
Sept. 24: M. Ward (with Dawes)
Sept. 30: Paper Diamond
Oct. 4: Ghostland Observatory
Oct. 5: Brett Dennen (with Ben Sollee)
Oct. 7: Marc Broussard (with Chic Gamine and Scars on 45)
Oct. 28: Need To Breathe (with Ben Recctor)
Nov. 17: John Hiatt and The Combo
Nov. 18: Dr. Dog
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...