Photography/Cameron Powell
Photography: Cameron Powell

East Texan country crooner sings about the rodeo life on a track from his new album, “Gotta Be Me.”

Rising country crooner Cody Johnson may not have written the words to his new song, “The Only One I Know (Cowboy Life),” but he’s sure lived them. Before he began charming fans all over the country a few years ago with his traditional twang and classic cowboy style, the East Texas native experienced plenty of adventures and a few broken bones while pursuing a short-lived pro-rodeo dream.

Music turned out to be Johnson’s true calling, though, as his 2014 album, Cowboy Like Me, raised his profile on the Texas scene and even on Music Row in Nashville. This Friday, August 5, brings us another collection of tunes from the singer, dubbed Gotta Be Me. The new record’s strength of material and early buzz suggest that Johnson may be on the verge of household-name status.

It couldn’t happen to a more earnest and skilled vocalist. Back to that new song: “The Only One I Know (Cowboy Life)” was penned by industry vets Shane Minor and Jeffrey Steele. From the first verse, its lyrics paint a vivid scene of a tired rodeo cowboy waking up and looking ahead to more travels and rides. It’s a little bit sad, but also quite stoic – a solid depiction of the desperado way.

Sure, the topic’s been mined in countless country classics, but Johnson lends a new energy and credibility to it here. And he’s been kind enough to allow C&I to premiere the tune a day ahead of his new album release. Listen below, and scroll down for a link to purchase Gotta Be Me.

Purchase Cody Johnson's Gotta Be Me here