It might be daunting to launch a massive endeavor like a double album, but not for country superstar Cody Johnson, an artist MusicRow predicts “just might be the future of real country music.” For him, it was quite the opposite. “I literally felt like I was just window shopping. Like I was a millionaire in a diamond shop. I was like, ‘I want that one. I want that one, I want that one,’” he says. “And then when we added all those songs up, we had 18 that we knew we had to record.”
The brand new 18-track double album Human is stacked top to bottom with songs that Johnson considers ones that were originally dubbed too country for country. When the songwriters told Johnson and his team that the tunes they’d penned were being rejected by other Nashville artists, he said, “Bring those to me.”
“It’s so hard to watch the fight to get the cowboy back on the radio. Because that’s who I am and the lifestyle I live. And I can't sacrifice my integrity for who I am. I'm just kind of just being myself,” Johnson says, having established a following of loyal fans by doing just that. Known as CoJo Nation, they regularly sell out shows across the country and have helped him earn multiple ACM and CMA Awards nominations, a Platinum-selling, Top 10 single (“On My Way To You”), two RIAA Gold-certified tracks (“Nothin’ On You” and “With You I Am”) and more than two billion streams worldwide.
Not all of the 18 country songs on Human are brand new. Johnson has covers of classics from Vince Gill (“Son of a Ramblin’ Man”) and Conway Twitty (“I Don’t Know a Thing About Love”). Johnson also recruited country music icon Willie Nelson to join him for a new version of Nelson’s honest and witty “Sad Songs and Waltzes” from 1973.
After an hour of non-stop cowboy country music -- backed by the welcome sounds of pedal steel guitar, fiddle, piano and his distinctive vocals -- what Johnson hopes is that his fans will feel like they know him a little bit better. “I love the fact that when you listen to this album, you're gonna hear all the facets that are me, personally and musically. Whether it’s something bluegrass, something a little bit rock, something gospel, or something a little bit more Texas.
“When people listen to Human, they are going to hear a lot more of me being me, because I am finally comfortable with myself and able to share that with my fans.”