Cody Johnson wrote 2 songs on his current album, Ain’t Nothin’ To It, one of which is “Dear Rodeo.”
Cody shares, “‘Dear Rodeo’ was probably one of the easiest and hardest songs ever to write. Easiest, meaning that it almost wrote itself but it’s one of the hardest I’ve ever written because it was very autobiographical and it addressed things in my life that I have never addressed before.”
Cody Johnson walked away from the life of rodeo to become a country music singer, but in leaving the sport, he always felt like something was unresolved. Now in his new profession, he never really addressed the change in his life until one a day a friend encouraged him to write a song about it. When Cody sat down with his co-writer on “Dear Rodeo,” he described the leaving as a divorce…so, with the lyrics, they wrote a letter to rodeo the same way someone would write a letter to a significant other during the process of separation.
Cody says, “One thing that my buddy Scott Gunner, who I feel like knows me better sometimes than I do musically, one thing he said I never addressed as a songwriter was the open wound of not chasing a buckle…not rodeoing…trying to make a living out of it. I still get to ranch rodeo, and team rope, and ride cutting horses and do my cowboy thing. But it’s not the same, and I got a lot of friends who are world champions and second up world champions. I guess to me, it felt like a divorce when I quit rodeoing. It felt like it was something I didn’t want to talk about, and Scott encouraged me to write about this, and myself and Dan Couch sat down, and when I said that it felt like a divorce, Dan said ‘Well, why don’t we write a letter to her…the sport of rodeoing, talk to her like she’s a woman.’ And I feel like when you translate it like that, that’s something everyone can relate to.”
Cody says that there’s lessons he carries over from his rodeo days to his music making career that help him face difficult times, ““Well, I think when you rodeo, you have to have a degree of…an ability to deal with fear…physical fear, you know, getting hurt. Once you’ve accomplished how to compartmentalize that, you can take that fear and use it as a fuel for your fire. It gives you a sense of work ethic, and it gives you a sense of…when you can look at the odds stacked against you…which they have been in my music career, most of my career, you look at those odds stacked against you, and you just smile and go ‘bring it on buddy.’ I think that’s 100% where it comes from…is rodeo.”
Now, Cody is sharing a clip from his upcoming documentary that tells the tale of his rodeo life…
Cody released a special version of “Dear Rodeo” with another country star who gave up that life to have a singing career…Reba McEntire.
Reba shares, “It was a thrill to get to sing ‘Dear Rodeo’ with Cody because we’re both from the rodeo world. I grew up in a rodeo family. I’m a third generation rodeo brat, so it means a lot to me because I did leave rodeo for being in the country music business…I sure miss it.”
Check out the music video with Cody Johnson and Reba McEntire singing “Dear Rodeo”…
Photo Courtesy of Warner Music Nashville