High Cost Of Living

Album: That Lonesome Song (2008)


  • This song tells the story of a man making some bad decisions. Johnson commented on his website that he "believes this can happen when people are hurting and can go from bad to worse if they don't receive the help they need.".
  • Johnson co-wrote this song with James Slater, whose other credits include Rascal Flatts' "Unstoppable." Even though this cut was never a hit, the song's subject matter has spoken to fans struggling with addiction issues. Slater explained to The Boot the story behind the song: "I had that title, 'The High Cost of Living Ain't Nothing Like the Cost of Living High,' for about a year and a half. Jamey and I had become friends at the time. I thought, 'That's the guy I gotta write it with.' I thought maybe he had a little experience in that. So I called him one day, and thankfully it was right before he was about to start making his album. He came over to the house. It took us about two sessions to write it. He took it home and came back, and I'll never forget the day he came back. He goes, 'Man, I gotta show you something.' He said, 'I put this part in the third verse about cocaine and a whore.' And he said, 'There goes our No. 1 single!' I said, 'You know, Jamey, I just trust you. Let's just run with it and make it real.' And in hindsight that was the best thing that could have happened, because maybe it wasn't a No. 1 single, but I'll tell you, we've gotten so many great letters and press about that song and it is real, and it really hits people right. I think it's nice to have certain songs that are just right there. So many people have come up and said to me, 'Wow, that was me 10 years ago,' or 'that was me four years ago.' So I'm real happy with that song. When you get together with Jamey you don't know what you're gonna get! He's a bright guy, he's smart, he's different. And that's what I embrace. I grew up in Central America ... I'm not your typical songwriter, my past is a little different, so I really embrace anything different. And Jamey Johnson's the real thing. So, 'High Cost of Living' was awesome to write!"

Comments: 1

  • Todd from Meyersdale, PaId just like to say Mr.johnson Your one hell of a song wrighter and a true cow boy. About 2 years ago i went thro a bad spell of life every thing you said in this song went on in my life expet cops kickin in my door thank god. My mom hears this song and almost brings tears to her eyes becuz it reminds her of me then.Id also like to say now i can listen to this song and remind me hell with all that stuff been clean since 4/25/08
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