Jamey Johnson Captures the Spirit of Memorial Day with Emotional New Track “21 Guns”

Fans of Jamey Johnson have been waiting a long time for him to release new music. Over the past few years, he’s shown up as a featured artist on a handful of singles. He also released a rendition of “America the Beautiful” in 2020. Other than that, though, Johnson hasn’t released anything new since “You Can” came out as a single in 2015. That all changed today. Hear the emotional and timely “21 Guns” below.

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Before Johnson was a torchbearer of traditional country music, he was a United States Marine. He served in the Corps from 1994 until 2002, reaching the rank of Corporal. He wrote “21 Guns” with Jim “Moose” Brown about a year ago, according to his website. Attending funerals of his fellow Marines inspired the song. He’s been playing “21 Guns” during his concerts since then but the wider world is hearing it for the first time today.

[RELATED: 5 Songs You Didn’t Know Jamey Johnson Wrote]

Johnson will give the song its national television debut during PBS’ National Memorial Day Concert this Sunday. It airs at 8 p.m. Eastern on PBS. Check local listings for more information.

Jamey Johnson Discusses “21 Guns”

“I wrote it because I have gone to too many funerals of Marines I served with that were just too young,” he said of the song. “When they die young, you always remember them that way, which is unfair. Guys that heroic that die that young deserve the right to grow old and they didn’t get to,” he added.

The inspiration behind the song goes deeper than that, though. “It is also being at those funerals and seeing their parents who seem much too young to have a child die in that way and wondering what must be going through their minds,” he explained. “This song is the answer to that question.”

“I wrote ’21 Guns’ because I have been feeling this way for years. I want to put it out there because I think it will help,” Johnson said. “There may be somebody out there who doesn’t know how to express what they are feeling, and maybe this will help,” he added.

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