A bright new Day in country music
Up-and-coming country singer/songwriter Johnny Day
A bright, new Day is dawning on the Nashville music scene. To be specific, Johnny Day, an up-and-coming country singer/songwriter.
Born Jonathan Earl Lane Day in December 1993 to Donnie Day and Holly Hardin, Johnny and sisters Sydney and Samantha grew up country kids on Colorado’s Eastern Plains. There the family owned good using horses. Day also enjoyed lots of summer months and other visits to his maternal grandfather John Hardin’s 2,000-acre cattle ranch in Sedalia, Mo.
A 2012 graduate of Platte Valley High School, the Kersey, Colo., native next spent a few semesters in a community college but quickly chose music over any other career path.
Although the country music genre eventually became a huge part of his soul, Day admitted he was anything but a fan as a child. Until age 17, that is, when he first saw and heard Brad Paisley. The sound captured his imagination and filled his dreams; he desperately wanted to sing and play just like the big country music celebrity.
“Plus, I saw all the pretty ladies in the front row!” Day added with a chuckle.
Now age 26, Day is already a well-seasoned artist. When just 12, he played in a cover band called “Voodoo Chile” —not a country group. His voice lowered a bit when asked what kind of guitar he started out with.
“Uh, a First Act,” he quietly responded.
Does he still own that unpretentious initial instrument? You know, like for sentimental value or something because, after all, it was a Christmas gift from his mom.
Day then admitted he was a rocker back then who wanted to emulate the pros. So, he smashed his First Act, for fun. Having second thoughts about his First Act, he now kind of wishes he hadn’t done that.
At 18, he and 25-year-old friend Josh Scheer formed a folk-pop duo they dubbed “Pandas and People.” Excitement built when they won some competitions and played at Fiddler’s Green (aka Comfort Dental Amphitheater), The Budweiser Events Center, Mishawaka Amphitheater, and the Thunder Mountain Amphitheater.
Day has also performed with Craig Campbell at the Rocky Mountain Music Awards, and likewise joined the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on the stage at the Thunder Mountain venue.
Many artistic and guitar greats influence Day’s style, including Keith Urban, The Beatles, Queen, Def Leppard, Shania Twain, George Strait, Chet Atkins Tommy Emmanuel and, of course, Brad Paisley.
Heartaches Write the Lyrics, Struggles Compose the Music
Every life, of course, has its downs as well as ups. Day’s parents divorced when he was still in high school. Betrayal suffered from an early relationship caused further sadness and loneliness in the young man, so much so that he focused more intently than ever on his music.
Day needed more money than he had for a better guitar and amp so, at age 19, he’d begun working in the oilfields. Good pay and desirable hours (one week on and the next off) gave him lots of time for musical pursuits. He eventually split his Colorado oilfield time — working as a lease operator for Extraction Oil and Gas — with days and weeks performing and seeking greater visibility in Nashville.
In December 2018, Day married, a momentous and wonderful step in his life. Wife Angelica had brought daughter Amira with her into the new family and, in November 2019, baby Alilah was born to the Days.
Because air travel between the two distant states had become more and more arduous, 2019 also transformed Day and his wife into homeowners when they bought a home in Nashville.
Day’s manager and friend Tyler Miller not only accompanies him to venues but also plays guitar at them. Joining them are additional Nashville-based professional musicians (maximum capacity seven) who play banjo, piano, pedal steel, fiddle, electric guitar, drums or bass.
The performer and his eventual manager had first met in 2014 at the Yuma County Fair, where Day opened (on guitar only) for Austin Wahlert, an Eaton, Colo., performer. Miller was setting up stages at the event.
In early 2016, Day excitedly called Miller to share plans about a new project. Was Miller interested in participating? Yes! He immediately jumped on board and has been with Day ever since. The rest, as it’s said, is history.
On Feb. 14, 2020, Day released his first major single out of Nashville. Titled “Two Good Forgivers,” the song began as an unexpected inspiration during one early morning drive to his Colorado Eastern Plains oilfield job.
Day was listening to a Billy Graham sermon about marriage. The evangelist included an anecdote about a fellow asking another man how he and his wife had remained a couple for so long. The faithful, longtime spouse simply replied, “It takes two forgivers.”
Day immediately thought, “Wow, that’s a song!” Which he soon thereafter wrote.
For the following four to five months, Day diligently worked to persuade Miller how great it would become. He felt an urgency to cut this particular song “just in case something happened to me” so that his wife, daughters and other family members would hear lyrics that came straight from his heart.
The newly released single is now available on all digital streaming platforms: Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Youtube, etc. Also, Day’s website links to anywhere and everywhere it’s available.
As can be heard in many of his other lyrics, his strong Christian faith definitely comes through in “Two Good Forgivers,” giving it great crossover potential. Other original titles soon to be released include “Yeehaw,” “Who I Wanna Be,” “I.O.U.,” and “Me Without You.”
Farther Up Along the Trail
Miller advised that future plans include promotions through Girlilla Marketing, a digital agency that deals with promotion creation and branding. The firm works with such clients as Vince Gill, Brooks and Dunn, and other top performers. An excellent resource, Miller said.
Additionally, MusicRow Magazine (the largest Nashville industry magazine, said Miller), will feature ads for Day. These, unlike typical paid advertising, must be pre-accepted and approved by the publication.
Miller is delighted that Day has been touted by many Nashville music professionals as one of the most-talented all-around entertainers, and the best guitar player, they’ve seen in a long time.
Day’s website bio includes the statements, “There is a beautiful loneliness built into landscape of the Colorado plains. It inspires and breeds a sense of country into a man. Open ground and isolation are two of the keys to country music…”
Day definitely uses those two keys to unlock a wealth of talent and creativity that give his music a rich country sound complimented by lyrics that relate eternal and universal truths.
— Metzger is a freelance writer from Fort Collins, Colo. She can be reached at email@example.com.