The Country genre today is one destined for the Dewey decimal system stretching on aisle after aisle with artists ranging from Hank Williams to Jewel. Establishing a pleasantly unique sound amid this influential mass is not an easy task for any artist, yet it’s one Cody Johnson has accomplished in a respectable way. Fusing country and rock is no new concept, but rarely is it done to the quality by which Cody Johnson will soon be known. Cody Johnson and his band blend County and Rock; creating something new while still respecting the roots of both genres and styles. The 22 year old artist’s freshly energetic blend uniquely bridges generation gaps between fans. At his concerts you will see teenagers and parents alike singing his songs side by side. Nowhere was this more apparent than when Cody was asked to play to 6000 students at the 2007 Texas FFA Convention in Corpus Christi by several adult fans of his in the FFA administration. Also worth mentioning is when Cody and the boys played several songs with presidential candidate Mike Huckabee at a campaign rally in College Station with Huckabee playing Bass.
Cody is making good connections with other talented musicians and has opened for successful artists such as, Kevin Fowler, Roger Creager, Aaron Watson, Brandon Rhyder, Stoney LaRue, Zona Jones, Band of Heathens, Jason Allen, Bleu Edmonson, and numerous others.
The energy and excitement Cody displays during a concert brings to mind legendary performers such as Garth Brooks, Chris Ledoux, and even Jim Morrison. He specializes in getting the crowd involved and drawing them into the show and fans seem to all pile up at the front of the stage begging to get closer. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the intimate acoustic performances this group gives. With Cody at the center, Matt on one side picking lead and singing harmony, and Nathan on the other side playing what seems like an infinite number of sounds on an African Djembe and singing harmony, catching an acoustic show with this group rivals an MTV unplugged session. They still play their own music but also divulge into covers ranging from Hank Williams to Seether, even applying that signature sound to the covers they play.
Cody has been playing guitar, singing and writing since he was twelve years old. Over his 22 years he has written over 200 songs. His entire family is talented in music but Cody is the first Johnson to try to make a living at it. Cody and Nathan met in Huntsville when Nathan moved there to finish his Marketing degree in January 2006 and they started the band in May of 2006 with Cody’s dad Carl Johnson on Bass. They played as a 3 piece for a year and released their first album together titled Black & White Label. With this album, things started picking up and they decided to add a lead guitar player so Cody turned to his high school buddy, Matt Rogers. With the addition of Matt, they decided to record a new album at a live venue. So in May of 2007 they recorded the Live and Rocking at Shenanigans Album. With this album, Carl realized that they had grown out of just playing for fun on the weekends and was forced to quit the band for his day job and family commitments.
In September 2008 the band embarked on their first professionally produced album. They hooked up with Keith Davis in Austin and recorded their debut professionally produced album, Six Strings One Dream, which was released September 2nd 2009 with the first single released off the album “Another Try” reaching the Texas Music Chart only weeks after release the band has high hopes for the numerous other singles they plan to release off the album. What’s important to note is that the band financially backed the production of this album with only their personal money through savings accounts, personal loans, gig money and part time jobs.
The members of Cody Johnson Band are Nathan Reedy on drums. Nathan’s taste in hard rock continually shapes the songs Cody writes and is largely responsible for their country and rock blended “signature sound.” In fact, a majority of their songs are arranged in an “on the fly/improv” manner on Cody’s back porch with Cody singing and playing guitar and Nathan playing the Djembe. Nathans influence is most apparent in songs he and Cody wrote together such as “Take the Devil Home,” “A Bottle and a Bible,” “Texas Kind of Way,” and the song the new album got its title from “Nobody to Blame.” The prodigy Matt Rogers mathematical and systematic electric guitar playing gives each song its unique instrumental identity then seamlessly switching to the core rhythm during Jeff’s solos. Danny Salinas on bass keeps the low ends fat and healthy and his experience in band management and computer knowledge has been a valuable asset to the group.
Since the debut of their first professionally produced album Six Strings One Dream the group is fortunate and proud to have obtained two of the most seasoned and talented musicians available, over thirty years between them. First is Chris Whitten on fiddle who has played with artists such as Willie Nelson, Toby Keith, Pat Green, Kevin Fowler, Bryan White, Gary Stewart, and countless others including an appearance at The Grand Ol’ Opry with Vince Gill, and played on numerous albums before Six Strings One Dream such as Tim McGraw’s “A Place in the Sun” album. The other power house addition is Jeff Smith on lead guitar. Jeff started playing guitar at 8 and performing live at 9 years old as a singer/songwriter. He lived in Nashville for 3 years as a recording artist for Showtime Records where he learned crucial fundamentals about the music business and what it takes you to be a successful musician. His talent has been demonstrated in the presence of the industry’s most familiar artists such as Merle Haggard, George Jones, Tracy Byrd, Jason Aldene, Mark Chestnut, Gary Stewart and Asleep at the wheel just to name a few. For the last 10 years he has been traveling North America and overseas with Nashville Recording Artist Zona Jones until recently committing to the CJB full time. The addition of these two members and the talent and experience they bring with them has played a vital part in the bands recent quick and upward movement.