Photo Credit: Mark Deskin
Whether it is eight seconds on the back of a twisting, lunging bull or clocking more than 2 million views on Facebook in 48 hours, Cody Johnson tackles life by the numbers.
And he is stacking them up with the release and tour for Gotta Be Me, which has been the attention-grabbing follow-up to his 2014 release, Cowboy Like Me.
“I’m a God-fearin’, hard-workin’, beer-drinkin’, fightin’, lovin’ cowboy from Texas,” he says with total conviction and complete disclosure. “That’s about it.”
He certainly got the “hard-workin” part right. Johnson is a commanding and electrifying entertainer with a powerful voice. And fans are connecting to his authenticity.
“He has a raspy mumble of a voice that at times echoed George Jones” wrote the Houston Chronicle in last month’s review of his RodeoHouston debut, where Johnson performed in front of an audience of more than 60,000.
“He displayed an ease and comfort in entertaining 60,000 people that made it look like he’s been on that stage dozens of times before,” said Chris Huff of KILT 100.3 The Bull in Houston.
He can deliver a party anthem with the wild abandon of the rodeo arena, but he has also witnessed the darker side of life as a former prison guard on horseback, giving his songs a deeper perspective.
“You’re only a couple bad decisions away every day from screwing your whole life up,” he says. And with that knowledge and proximity to hardened criminals, you believe he wants to capture every moment of his current ride to stardom.
His honesty is resonating with fans who are flocking to his shows all over the country. He regularly sells out venues in states he has never played in before, creating a word-of-mouth groundswell that continues to gain momentum and attention including a recent run of media appearances including FOX and sessions with musical tastemakers including Billboard, Paste, and Relix.
Johnson has sold more 138,000 tickets to 28 headline shows since January 1st, performing in 14 states. An impressive 20 of the 28 shows sold out in advance. He has been streamed more than 160 million times in the last 12 months and his music video “With You I Am” was viewed over 2 million times in just 48 hours after it was posted to his Facebook page.
And, if you are counting, it would appear that country fans want to hear Cody Johnson’s brand of traditional-meets-timely country music; and he is happy to bring it to them making one fan at a time.