Fans of Jamey Johnson have been anxiously awaiting a new album, some of them for years. Now, the country music star has explained that he is taking a break from creative work to rest from an injury. In an interview with “Kentucky Country Music,” the singer-songwriter explained that he suffered a concussion about 7 years ago which has negatively affected his ability to work.
“I slipped on some ice coming out of the studio one night and I hit my head pretty hard,” he explained. More recently, the 41-year-old singer was checked out by a neuroscientist. That checkup revealed that the concussion he suffered all those years ago had put his brain into what he described as a “hyper vigilant” state in which he finds himself unable to focus on anything that isn’t directly related to survival.
“Out went the songwriting, or the focus on songwriting, or even the openness to it even,” he told listeners. “I can still write. The craft is still there.”
Yet, like many victims of concussions and other brain injuries, he finds that inspiration isn’t always enough to get him focused on songwriting like he once was. It’s coming back slowly, but he is making progress.
Although he hasn’t been able to write new songs, he has continued to work. He will be playing Farm Aid 2017 and other concert dates this year. He’s also working with June Carter Cash on an album of Johnny Cash favorites she is having reinterpreted by contemporary artists.
Johnson is under the care of a neuroscientist and his injury occurred a number of years ago, It’s not our intention to question any medical advice he has been given. In most cases, however, the recommended treatment for most concussions is strict rest.
That means avoiding both physical and mental activities that could increase any symptoms. For example, physical exertion may provoke pain and prolong the healing process, so sports and exercise are not recommended until a concussion is fully healed.
The same goes for mental activities because, as Johnson’s case demonstrates that thinking and attempting creativity can be difficult. The Mayo Clinic recommends avoiding homework, reading, texting, playing video games and even watching TV, if they make any symptoms worsen.