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Cody Johnson Adds to His Success With “Gotta Be Me”

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In just the past two years Cody Johnson has sold over a half million concert tickets as a headliner and in the last year and a half his music has been streamed over 80 million times, selling 60,000 albums and 400,000 singles during that same period. Not too bad for a guy from Sebastapol, Texas (pop. 500) who doesn’t have a major label record deal and has received little radio airplay. Now, with his latest release Gotta Be Me, which made it’s debut at #2 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart, he is ready to expand on those numbers and on what has become one of the strongest social media followings for an independent artist in Country music.

Now, it’s not that Johnson didn’t have any offers from a major record company for a deal, just the opposite.  After his fifth album, Cowboy Like Me was released it turned Music City on it’s ear. The album, which was released in 2014, sold over 8,000 copies in it’s first week and made it’s debut on the Billboard Country Albums Chart at #7 and #33 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart. When word about Gotta Be Me spread, major Nashville labels were eager to help, but Johnson turned them down.

“I went with my gut, and that’s something I’ve done ever since my rodeo days,” Johnson told Rolling Stone Country. “I wanted to show a different avenue of how to do this. I don’t know that we’re seeing that big change that some people might like, but I do see a changing of the tide of how things go. And I think enough people have been told ‘no’ that there’s a group of us that are kind of putting our hats down and going, ‘Well, fine. I’m just gonna chase this thing myself.’”

Johnson has been chasing ‘this thing’ for over a decade starting the Cody Johnson Band in 2006 with his Dad, Carl.  He released his first album, Black and White Label that same year and a year later recorded a live album titled Live and Rocking. After that release his Dad left the band and in 2009 CJB recorded their first professionally produced album Six Strings One Dream which saw three of the singles make their way into Top Ten on the Texas Music Charts. He followed with A Different Day in 2011.

Much of Johnson’s success stems from his authenticity, both in is music and his life. He has worked as a horseback prison guard and spent time riding bulls professionally.  His fans, proudly known as CoJo Nation, not only are drawn to his music, but follow the man. He wears Wranglers instead of skinny jeans, a cowboy hat instead of a backwards ball cap and sings traditional Country music at a time when pop country reigns the airwaves.

Gotta Be Me was produced to bring more of the character of Johnson to life in his songs. From the bull rider in “The Only One I Know (Cowboy Life)” to the romantic “With You I Am” to the Gospel tinged “I Can’t Even Walk.” His approach was simple as Johnson stated, “I have to be myself. It’s not about money, it’s not about fame; it’s about giving you music that’s 110 percent true and it’s built on being real. It’s built on character.”

Johnson definitely gives music that is real and with Gotta Be Me he gives his fans a chance to find out more about the Texas kid with the baritone voice.

Cody Johnson will be performing at Thirsty Cowboy in Medina, Ohio along with special guest Jacob Bryant on Saturday, January 21. Showtime is 9:00pm. Tickets are $10 and are available Here.

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