The life of an up-and-coming touring musician is notoriously difficult, but Jamey Johnson’s just got a little easier with news that the man many call the head of the new outlaw movement has scored an exclusive sponsorship deal with the Fosdick Corporation, makers of the trendy sleeved blanket known as the Snuggie.
“The Snuggie has made a big name for itself in a short time in the comfort, fashion and tacky gag gift industries, and I’m trying to do the same thing in country music, so I think there is a kinship there,” reflected Johnson. “Even with the album doing as well it has done, money is pretty tight and this partnership will allow us to perform in some places that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to perform. I think it’ll be a good thing. We’ll for sure be more comfortable than ever, what with the boxes of Snuggies they sent over for me and the band.”
According to the terms of the deal, Johnson will have to wear a Snuggie during all of his paid appearances in 2009. In addition, he will be required to weave frequent Snuggie references into his stage banter and set up a Snuggie kiosk next to his merchandise table at many shows. In return, the Fosdick Corporation is giving Johnson an undisclosed amount of cash, which he can claim in monthly installments by calling a toll-free number or mailing a postcard to a post office box somewhere in Connecticut.
At his Saturday night show in Montgomery, Johnson was obviously still adjusting to his new role as musical pitchman. Introducing the title track from his critically-acclaimed That Lonesome Song, he commented: “I was going through a bit of a rough patch at the time I wrote this song – my wife had left me, I had just lost my first record deal, uh, I hadn’t yet discovered the splendor of the wearable blanket known as the Snuggie, available in a variety of sizes and colors over by the swag table. It was a rough time in my life.”
By the time he performed “Place Out on the Ocean” later in the show, though, he had already learned to work his contractually-mandated Snuggie references in a bit more seamlessly. With a sly wink, he gamely changed the song’s lyrics to “It’s a place out on the ocean/A robe and blanket too/But all that I can think about is you” as the crowd, which by then included many owners of brand new Snuggies, roared its approval.
Not everyone was so enthusiastic. A few concertgoers like Montgomery native Janet Robinson were confused by Johnson’s choice of attire: “Is he in a cult or something? Or why is he wearing that robe backwards?”
In a possible sign of more sponsorship deals to come, Johnson is reportedly in talks with the ShamWow! people about trading in his band’s cheap cotton sweat rags for something a little more absorbent.