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Is Cody Johnson Band Poised to Take Over the Texas Music Scene?

Christopher Vinn, Townsquare Media

Who’s the next breakout star in the Texas, Red Dirt scene? On separate occasions both Aaron Watson and Kevin Fowler have told me they believe Cody Johnson fits that bill. That’s no small endorsement coming from from a couple Texas Music stalwarts like those two.

So, his peers are on board. What about the folks who book concerts and bring acts into their venues week in and week out? In talking with a few friends in the live music scene, the consensus is Cody Johnson puts on one of the best and most dynamic live shows. And it’s no secret, despite being a young act, his draw is rapidly expanding.

Ok, peers and venues check. But how’s his radio play? In one word, ridiculous.

The debut single off Johnson’s debut album, “Six Strings, One Dream,” titled “Nobody to Blame” shot to No. 6. The follow up, “Pray for Rain,” went all the way to No. 1. His third release, “Texas Kind of Way,” peaked at No. 6, but was the second most played song of 2011 (behind “Crazy Girl” from a little band called Eli Young).

And from his sophomore album “A Different Day,” the first radio single “Diamond in My Pocket” raced to No. 1. And most recently, his summer 2012 smash “Guilty as Can Be” was guilty as can be of being his third No. 1.

The way I see it, when your peers, venues and radio are all in agreement, there is without a doubt something there. Cody Johnson stopped by Radio Texas, LIVE! recently and we talked about a lot including, his place in the scene and his crazy touring schedule. We played “Five Questions” plus he debuted a brand new song co-written with Kevin Fowler titled “The Weekend.”

Like most bands in our scene, Cody and his band have been hitting the road hard. And recently their travels took them through Wyoming, Montana and north of the border to Canada.

What was most surprising about the trip?

“[The people] were so receptive. Those people, so far away from Texas, knew the words to the songs, and were singin [along], wearing the t-shirts and showing up with the koozies,” Johnson said. “Seeing the music reaches that far is so cool.”

Of his recent collaborations with Kevin Fowler (for Fowler’s next album) Cody is particularly proud of the fact they are staying very true to themselves. He told me, “We’ve been spending a lot of time together, [and] with Casey Donahew as well… and I feel like we really tapped into good partyin’, drinkin’, dancehallin’ songs.”

Which is exactly what we like in Texas.

So will he take over the Texas Music scene? Crazier things have happened. And you can bet I’ll be following up with Kevin Fowler come August 2013. That’s the arbitrarily predicted date for Cody’s breakout (when I pressed him for a date), but really Fowler says he already has.

Want to hear Cody’s live performance of “The Weekend,” with Kevin Fowler? I’ve got that for you right here.

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“Five Questions” is a favorite of mine during in-studio visits, whether or not it is for my guests. Cody’s topics included World Geography, Kevin Fowler, and JB and the Moonshine Band. I also used the opportunity to get Cody to take a picture of me in his famous cowboy hat, so I could have a new Facebook default pic, so give it a listen.

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If you’d like to hear the rest of our interview, here it is. Enjoy.

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