The smooth and mellow, cool and country vocals are what make him the new sound of country. Reminiscent of Southern back roads, Saturday night anthems, and down home friends and family. If a blended sound of George Strait and Eric Church is your craving, then Derek Johnson is the voice that can soothe your country appetite. Born in the deep south, Mobile, Alabama, he calls home Nacogdoches, Texas (and has also lived in 5 other states). His love and knowledge of country music becomes his trademark when you hear him weave his tales from the days of old Hank to Shenandoah to Alabama to Jason Aldean. His stories of the ‘days of old’ and love of guitar are the soul inspiration to chasing his dream and his love for the tradition of country music.
Derek grew up in what he calls “T-Shirt Pocket Size” towns… four way stop, caution light, old men playing dominoes in the hardware store hiding from their wives! – Songs that bring a smile, chills, and warmth to the soul. Not to mention, he stands at 6’ 5” in a pair of well broken in boots…and his smile is undoubtedly contagious! The grandson and son of cotton and soybean farmers, good ole southern people…his roots are the definition of the songs he sings. His first major influence who began his love of guitar and all things country was his Grandfather, once a resident of Killeen, Texas, kept company with nothin’ but the best: toured the same circuits as legendary Bob Wills, George Morgan, and Hank Williams, Sr and several more. He and Hank were boarding mates and worked side by side at the Alabama Dry-docks, in Mobile, Alabama, before Hank’s sudden rise to fame. Derek’s been influenced by all the great country heroes and wants to keep the family tradition alive and well.
A graduate of the University of Alabama who majored in Business Management, moved to Nashville shortly after. During this time, he worked with several legendary producers and songwriters. His first big breakthrough came by working for Dave Gibson of the 1994 ACM Award winning Gibson/Miller Band; Dave penned number one hits such as: “Ships That Don’t Come In” by Joe Diffie and “Jukebox in My Mind” by Alabama and several more; also to Mike McGuire (of the legendary Shenandoah band)…who cut his first song “Tidal Wave” as a songwriter.
After spending a few years in Nashville, he felt a calling to support and defend his country. He joined the United States Army, serving one stint, as a 14S Air and Missile Defense crew member. He served with the elite unit, the 1/11 Armored Calvary Regiment Blackhorse, only to have suffered a severe injuries that would cut his military career short. While being away, he would carve his songwriting skills which led him straight back to the music scene in 2016. He is a wounded warrior but continues working alongside other veterans and wounded warriors with the Veteran Suicide Awareness marches (silkies!), raising awareness for his fellow brothers and sisters in arms struggling to transition. He is using his GI Bill at Stephen F. Austin University while continuing to write and perform as well. He is an active member of the SFA Lumberjack Veteran’s, Axe Em’ Jacks! Hooah!
It was during his first stop in Nashville that he met hit songwriter/producer Phil O’Donnell; better known as Philbilly by his peers. Phil has written three #1 singles for Blake Shelton (“Doin What She Likes”), George Strait (“Give It All We Got Tonight”), and Montgomery Gentry (“Back When I Knew It All”) and also produced Craig Morgan’s six-week #1, “That’s What I Love About Sunday,” which was the most played country song of 2005. Best advice he’s ever received: Roger Murrah; “If you don’t have what it takes, there’s nothing I can do to give it to you. If you have what it takes, there’s nothing I can do to stop you from getting it.”
Derek proudly presents his new album, one that’s filled with songs about his life: from church, to farm, to military, to finding his dream girl. If there’s one word to describe this piece of artwork it’s simple: Integrity! Derek’s songs will make you feel like you have found what you’ve been searching for – pure country at its finest!