Undiscovered: 5 Cody Johnson Songs We Think You’ll Love

Warner Music Nashville country music singer-songwriter Cody Johnson grew up bull-riding professionally in his small hometown of Sebastopol in east Texas. His 2014 album, Cowboy Like Me was a popular, breakthrough hit and Gotta Be Me was a Billboard Country Album Chart-topper in 2016. You probably know Johnson from his 2018 and 2019 hit singles “On My Way to You” and “Ain’t Nothin’ to It.” To celebrate his birthday today, we’re looking at 5 Johnson songs you may have missed.

1. “Pretend”

“Pretend” is a lyrically profound song that anyone tackling heartbreak or loss will relate to. It’s a poignant country track with a traditional sound and clean vocals laced with emotion. Released on Johnson’s 2009 album Six Strings One Dream, “Pretend” tackles how difficult it is to move on from love as if it never existed. He is asking himself the age-old question if it’s really better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.


“It’d be like me tellin’ you that I’m not the kind to ever make-believe, but when I opened my eyes this mornin’, you were still there lyin’ right next to me…yeah…I wished you never loved me. I wished you never loved me, yeah.”

2. “Slam the Door”

From the same album, “Slam the Door” is a very different kind of song about moving on. This fun classic country track will have you tapping your foot along to its upbeat rhythm and confident lyrics about moving on and moving up.


“And it’s a long hard road so they say. And everything that I’d lose it’s just another small price to pay. You’re gonna know my name and then I’ll leave you wanting more. And I won’t even say goodbye when I slam that door, oh here we go now.”


3. “Picture of a Man”

Fast-forward to 2011 on Johnson’s Black & White Label album, you will find the tear-jerker “Picture of a Man.” This acoustic, slow song is beautifully written and just the right kind of sad. Johnson’s heartfelt lyrics perfectly capture the “picture of a man” wrestling with heartbreak.


“‘Cause this is me without you. This is me not getting very far. This is me without you in my life. This is the picture of a man after goodbye.”


4. “Black & White”

Sometimes you’re not looking for inspiration to move on from heartbreak but just want a song to drink your sorrows await with—“Black & White” is that track. From the gritty sounds of chord changes at the top to lyrics about knocking back the booze, Johnson gives his listeners the opportunity to wallow in good company with good music.


I know there’s no place to go. I know there’s nothin’ I can do. So baby I’ll just keep on drinkin’. To forget about you.”


5. “Holes”

Johnson’s 2014 album Cowboy Like Me put him on the mainstream map but the lyrical masterpiece, “Holes” did not get the attention it deserves. This track is about the holes that add up over a lifetime that can’t be filled or fixed—from the holes punched in the drywall to more metaphorical holes in our hearts and in our souls. This beautiful song showcases Johnson’s immense talent as a songwriter and puts his vast vocal range on display.


“There’s a million conversations with my old man. ‘Bout who he was, and who I am. That I never had, I just wouldn’t listen. I just kept digging myself down in ‘em holes in my life. Down in my bones. From my heart to my soul. Holes.”

Happy Birthday, Cody Johnson!


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