Though they're known now for their singing chops and their devotion to old-time country music, Reba McEntire and Cody Johnson used to chase this dream they call rodeo. McEntire's past included barrel racing, while Johnson's a seasoned bull rider.
It's no surprise, then, that both gravitated toward their new duet, "Dear Rodeo." Johnson co-wrote the song with Dan Couch. It first appeared on Johnson's major label debut album, Ain't Nothin' To It (Warner Music Nashville), and was recently selected as a radio single. Johnson revisited the song with McEntire at the country legend's behest.
"It was a thrill to get to sing 'Dear Rodeo' with Cody because we're both from the rodeo world," McEntire said in a statement. "I grew up in a rodeo family, I'm a third-generation rodeo brat. So the song means a lot to me because I did leave rodeo to be in the country music business. I sure miss it."
Though it certainly applies to that seven-second rush chased by not just Johnson but such country legends as Chris LeDoux and Moe Bandy, the song also addresses reflecting back amid a major life change.
"The story behind 'Dear Rodeo' is more a story about life and less about rodeo," Johnson says, as quoted by Rolling Stone Country. "I feel like everybody has their own 'Dear Rodeo' story and when I found out that Reba was impacted by this song enough to want to do a duet, it was probably one of the coolest things I've ever done in my career. Reba adds a certain level of authenticity to this song that makes it so special. I love it when people sing songs about rodeo and cowboys, but there's a little bit of a different feel when you know that somebody can walk the walk they're talking. Neither one of us has a problem saying 'Hey, this is where I come from, you can check the credentials, we've got the scars to prove it.' I think that the honesty is really going to speak to people, and hopefully we can help people with this song."
The song arrives at a time when McEntire's promoting the 30th anniversary of her album Rumor Has It and launching a new podcast with sitcom co-star Melissa Peterman.
It also reached ears on a big day for new music. Other releases of note include Dolly Parton's Christmas album, Eric Church's "Hell of a View" and Maren Morris' new protest song, "Better Than We Found It."