Cody Johnson unites Brookings with “real country music”


Christian Larson, Reporter

“Let’s unite with real country music!” Texas-born country singer, Cody Johnson, said at the beginning of his sold-out concert in Brookings. 

The concert took place Sept. 10 at the Swiftel Center, marking Johnson’s first appearance at the venue. This was one of 51 stops on Johnson’s “Cody Johnson & Friends” tour which started in May and ends in early December.

Fellow country singers, Ella Langley and Randy Houser, opened the show. Langley is an Alabama-born, up-and-coming country artist who went viral on the social media platform TikTok with her song “If You Have To.” Houser is a Mississippi-born, multi-platinum artist who is best known for his songs “How Country Feels,” “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” and “We Went” which all reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart.

Johnson, who is best known for his 2018 breakthrough single, “On My Way To You” and this year’s two-week country radio chart-topper, “Til You Can’t,” kicked off his sold-out concert by jumping onto stage performing the high-energized, “Honky Tonk Hardwood Floors.”

Throughout his hour-and-30-minute performance, Johnson performed multiple songs from his latest album, “Human The Double Album” as well as some singles and covers.

Johnson particularly shined when performing upbeat songs like “Dance Her Home” and “Me And My Kind” which showed off his energy on stage and strong voice. One highlight from the show for me was Johnson’s cover of “Travelin’ Soldier” by The Chicks (formerly known as the Dixie Chicks). It’s rare to find an artist cover a song better than the original artist, but I think Johnson did just that. He absolutely nailed his version of the song.

Crowd favorites from the show were Johnson’s early breakthrough singles, “Dear Rodeo,” “Diamond In My Pocket” and “On My Way To You.” Another crowd favorite was of course this year’s “’Til You Can’t” which is currently the most played song on U.S. Country Radio this year. Johnson closed his set with the chart-topping single, with fans singing word-for-word at the top of their lungs.

I don’t see many male artists in concert because quite frankly I find a lot of them to be boring, but Cody Johnson is an exception. From the moment he jumped on stage, I could tell how excited and passionate he was for the show. 

Although there weren’t a lot of moments during the show where Johnson stopped to talk, when he did, he was very open and honest, whether he was talking about where he stands politically or the life events that inspired his music. Overall, I found Johnson to be incredibly likable both as a person and an artist. He stands out from many of his peers as he takes the time to connect with everyone who attends one of his shows, which I really admire.

It’s no secret that Cody Johnson is on track to becoming one of the main faces of country music. Johnson is currently nominated for four Country Music Association awards including Male Vocalist of the Year. With a dedicated and growing fanbase along with critical acclaim and commercial success, his goal of leaving a legacy of making country music sound like real country music again is certainly working and is taking over the mainstream country music scene by storm.