Cody Johnson is one of the most exciting up-and-coming country artists in the business today. Randy Rogers has described him as “what country music needs right now.” With his authentic cowboy style, down-to-earth songs and fiery live shows, he’s built a devoted fanbase across the country, proving he’s exactly what country fans want right now.
While Johnson’s popularity is rising across the country, we wanted to catch him in his element in his home state of Texas. We met up with him in Helotes at John T. Floore’s Country Store, a legendary country music venue, to talk about what’s on the horizon.
In June, Johnson will drop his anticipated new studio album, Gotta Be Me — a title that’s sort of a mantra for how he approaches his career. “One of the things I always liked about George Strait or any other artist I’ve liked is that there was always that main center line they maintained,” he says. For him, the center line is an authentic cowboy personality and style. His music balances what’s contemporary with the spirit and traditions of the genre.
“I don’t play Texas music, I don’t play Nashville music, I play country music,” Johnson says. “If it’s country music, and it feels good to you, that’s what we want to play, and we want to play it everywhere we can.”
The tracks on Gotta Be Me that we heard Johnson play live stick to his core strengths, and don’t chase the current trends in search of a hit. Although, there are a few cuts that will more than likely be big hits, at the very least on the regional charts. You can also expect at least one old-school country track, like the music your grandpa used to listen to in the truck on the way to fishing. There’s also a song he wrote with Rogers for the album about a man who meets his lover’s cheater in a bar — talk about country to the hilt.
Look for Cody Johnson’s new album, Gotta Be Me, in June. He’s currently on tour, and you can find a list of current dates here.