SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Cody Johnson is coming to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, at the Sanford Pentagon on Saturday, October 12. Tickets start at $30 and are on sale at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 26.
It’s Cody Johnson’s time. After landing two releases in the Top 10 of Billboard’s country albums chart on his own CoJo label and selling 74,000 tickets for a single show, to earn recognition as the only unsigned artist in history to sell out NRG Stadium at Rodeo Houston, one of Texas’ most-sought-after talents finally agreed to sign with a major label. Warner Music Nashville won a Music Row sweepstakes and enticed Johnson –who’d turned down several majors before –to join the team and take a shot at turning a concert success story into one with multimedia, national hit-making cred.
Johnson’s passionate, rowdy concerts have already drawn comparisons to Garth Brooks, and the music from his previous albums –inspired by ‘90s country foundations, but built for the 21st century –has made him a familiar presence on Texas and Oklahoma red-dirt radio.
Johnson wears his musical influences on his sleeve –referencing George Strait in “When Cowboys Were King,” Alan Jackson and Tim McGraw in “Y’all People” and Johnny Cash, Jackson Browne and Bruce Springsteen in “Monday Morning Merle.” Two choice covers further meld his personality with his musical taste. “Husbands and Wives,” a song that recognizes the day-to-day difficulties of holding a marriage together, is Johnson’s way of tipping a hat to one of country’s ultimate songwriters, the late Roger Miller. And “Long Haired Country Boy” has The Cody Johnson Band playing up his rebel side with a song established by The Charlie Daniels Band (yes, that’s the CJB covering the CDB). But Johnson’s version is filtered through the grizzly tone of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hank Williams Jr. and Brantley Gilbert.
Much like one of his heroes, the late Chris LeDoux, Johnson hit the rodeo circuit and made his first album during that time, selling self-financed CDs from his pickup as he chased the elusive eight-second dream. But broken bones and the cost of competition took their toll, and he eventually ditched life as a rodeo pro who played music on his off days to become a prison guard in Huntsville who played clubs on the weekends. The crowds began to grow, and he pieced together a string of hits on the Texas music charts. Plus, he snagged the Texas Regional Radio Music Award as Male Vocalist of the Year.
Now, one of country’s most-sought-after, formerly unsigned musicians is matched with one of Nashville’s most influential labels, at his peak with a traditionally-built sound just as country music is experiencing a ‘90s revolution.
Cody Johnson was a hold out for all the right reasons. And now he’s part of a team, again for all the right reasons. “There’s that rodeo competitor in the back of my head that says, ‘I don’t want to ride a bull, I want to be a world champion bull rider,’” Johnson says. “All my heroes have taken this step, and I’ve been given the opportunity with Warner to take this step on my own terms with a huge monster behind the machine that I’ve created. It doesn’t get any better than that.”